tv MSNBC Special Coverage MSNBC January 31, 2012 3:00pm-8:00pm PST
from the ruling class or a wild claimant to the tea party map thele and the fight between the two may not end here. suppose newt's charges stick, suppose the tea party folk out there continue to see romney as the heir to the old republican aristocracy? if so, they may end up this fall outsourcing their nomination to someone who is not one of them. to someone who represents the very establishment they are rebelling against. they may end up running a hessian, full to fight their own revolution. and that's "hardball." thanks for being with us. stay with msnbc now for full coverage of the florida primary. it's never happened before, the first three races for the republican nomination, three different winners. but tonight, it's number four and this volatile contest is swinging back toward mitt romney. >> i'm beginning to feel we might win tomorrow what do you think? >> the romney campaign's key florida advantage, money, lots
of money. >> he has a basic policy of carpet bombing his opponent. he doesn't try to build up mitt romney, he just tries to tear down whoever he is running against. >> but anyone expecting newt gingrich to go quietly does not know newt gingrich. >> we will go all the way to the convention. i believe republican party will not nominate a pro-abortion, pro-gun control, pro-tax increase moderate from massachusetts. >> ron paul and rick santorum already moving on, looking long term, looking north and west. >> understand there's a business around here, i think ll bean, been around 100 years. obviously, we are near missouri because we believe we can win missouri. >> it is a delegate by delegate battle to the nomination. tonight, the biggest prize yet. msnbc's live coverage of the florida republican presidential primary begins right now.
good evening from our msnbc headquarters here in new york. i'm rachel maddow, alongside our panel for the night, steve schmidt, a chief strategist with the mccain/palin campaign four years ago. he is now an msnbc political analyst. the host of "the ed show" on msnbc, the great ed schultz, lawrence o'donnell, host of the last word on msnbc. lawrence is a former senior senate staffer and the host of politics nation, reverend al sharpton, a former presidential candidate himself. you will be hearing from these fellas all in just a moment. tonight, the polls close in florida at 7 p.m. local time. now, florida is a big place. while most of florida is on eastern time, florida's panhandle is in the central time zone. so, polls there stay open until 7 p.m. central, that's 7 p.m. local time there, which is 8 p.m. eastern. and that is the earliest time we will be able to characterize the
race tonight for the whole state of florida. our first sense of who's turning out in florida today and what's important to those voters comes courtesy, of course, of our exit polling from the state. for that, we turn to tamron hall what can you tell us? >> we talked to florida voters as they left their polling places today, as you mentioned, here's some of what we learned already in this early hour. older voters are always important to florida and take a look at this. 38% of those who showed up today are at least 65 years old. that's more older people than in any previous republican contest we have seep this year. also, take a look at this number, 15% of those who showed up are latino, a majority kuhn, the first sizable share of nonwhite notice republican primaries thus far. but that's where the differences with past primaries ends. in fact, take a look at this one, talking about the top issue in florida, a clear majority, 62%, said the economy is what mattered most to them and their choice today. the economy was also most
important, iowa, new hampshire and south carolina. and probably any other state at this point. now, take a look at this next number, 45% that said the ability to beat barack obama was the quality that mattered most in a candidate. no other option even came close. also similar to what we've seen so far this year. one were the economy, and took that, such a issue in florida is because of the housing crisis. it was, of course, one of the states hit hardest when the housing bubble popped. look at this half of today's voters said foreclosure was a major problem, 32% citing it as a minor problem in their community. so, we are getting some insight. we will be watching to see if viewers have more information on the housing crisis and how that could possibly play a role in today's vote. rachel? >> tamron hall. thank you very much. checking in with you over the course of the night for more of those exit poll numbers. reaction from chris matthews
leading coverage from miami. the voters in florida tonight there are more republicans voting tonight than in all of the previous contests combined and then some. more older voter, more diverse, more latino electorate. what do you think is important to watch for tonight? >> well it is a big state. as i said earlier on "hardball" tonight, it is only one of the top four states in electoral clout that really swings back and forth between the party, except for one time in 1992, all the way took '64, they have been with the winners. florida tends to be where the country is. so, it is very important, as you point out, a big state that does in many ways, add it all up, although is very varied throughout the state, all ends up being americana. the big question, will it solve this fight? i don't think it will. there is a bat in the republican right between its head, that's romney, and its gut, and that's newt gingrich. but its heart doesn't go to any of these guys there is no reagan running. there is no ike running. there's no hero. there's no teddy roosevelt. there's no one that makes people happy to know they are alive. there's nobody who has captured
the positive spirit of the american right it has all been deadly negative. the negative campaigning we have seen down here, rachel, turn on tv down here is to hear 90% nastiness it is a pooh storm and nobody, as i said, is going to walk away clean. >> it chris, in terms of that effort to try to connect emotionally with the electorate, obviously, people are trying to connect on anger, people are trying to connect on resentment, but do you see in the newt gingrich candidacy, do you see any effort to try to go for that heart that you are talking about? is gingrich making a play for that to try to say i want to be the hopeful conservative sneer are you seeing pure negative from him? >> yeah unfortunately, it set it up really the way you almost capture it in the movies, it has become ethnic, going after the jewish vote, the catholic vote, going after, as we saw last week, i think the racial vote earthquake the anti-black vote, with all that talk of food stamps. it has been a nasty, cheap-shot
campaign aimed at fearing -- creating fear about the other guy, not about say, you know what i can make this a better country and here's how. or, you know, blue skies are ahead. if we do the following two or three things. i mean, all our great leaders, all of our great leader, left, right and center have always said if you follow me, i will take you to a better place. i don't hear that. i just don't hear it. i hear romney stomping on the grave, i think, of newt gingrich down here. almost sadistic way. he seems to get -- somebody said earlier, he is basking in the negativity of his own tv ad campaign. what a strange emotion to show to the voters, that you enjoy stomping the other guy. i have to tell you, you have asked a very positive question, rachel, as you often do i can't give you a positive answer. this has been a nasty campaign. i don't think it's gonna help them carry down here and i don't care what people said before this campaign. i think as of now, the president has a very good chance down here come november, given what they have just seen from this party,
maybe they can make up for it when they come down here for their convention come next august, when they come down to tampa, but they are going to have to sing a different song. >> chris, thank you. that's intense analysis and actually visually right now, seeing you on the miami skyline, seeing the dark clouds roll in behind you, i almost feel like we have scripted this whole thing to underscore what you are saying. >> i didn't. thank you. >> chris, we will be back with you in just a second. nbc news has had campaign embed reporters covering the campaign since last summer. we will check in with them now, closer to the candidates really than anybody else on the campaign trail, with them on a longitudinal way you following them the ups and downs of the campaign. start with alex moe covering the gingrich campaign. what are you hearing today, alex? >> newt gingrich was out and about today campaigning in the orlando area, he had four events, including two visits to polling sites were him and his wife were meeting with voters, taking pictures, signing autographs, seemed to be in a
good upbeat mood. he told me in his last convenient he wished he had time to visit walt disney world while he was in town in florida, but he didn't have the time. speaker gingrich told us repeatedly he is going go all the way to the convention. he hopes to have a respectful finish tonight in florida but they are already looking ahead to some of the other future contest them fly tonight to nevada and have the first event tomorrow in reno. >> alex have you had any sense what counts to them as a respectable finish? all the polls heading into florida tonight show mr. romney with a pretty big lead. has the gingrich campaign been willing to put a number on what they consider to be bad news tonight? >> no you know, speaker gingrich hasn't put a number on it, we did ask him today if he is going to get beat here by a lot. he said, no, he doesn't think he will take a big loss. all those people who have been doubting anymore june and july when they said he was dead and counted him out in iowa as well. he says, look, i'm back, i just won south carolina, we will see what happens here tonight, but he is hopeful that going forward, he is going to make it to the convention and i'll be the republican nominee. >> alex, thank you.
alex moe covering the gingrich campaign. going to go to garrett haake, covering the romney campaign. garrett, i know we have been seeing lot of confidence from the candidate himself on the campaign trail. what are you hearing from the campaign today and their expectations for tonight? >> about the same, rachel. these guys do expect to win here, they expect to win big. following governor romney around on the campaign trail this week was sort of like watching deck officer this guy meticulous and smiling and not content to kill his victim but wanted to chop him up into little bits that's what you got, stop after stop after stop, all week, first things out of his mouth were taking down speaker gingrich in a fairly aggressive but also sort of smiling way. until last night, the very last stop, all of a sudden, any mention of speaker gingrich was gone, led the crowd singing "america the beautiful," it was surreal. seem like they are in a very confident, calm place now. >> garrett haake covering the romney campaign that is a vivid image, the dexter thing is really creepy and excellent. well done. thanks, garrett. check in with you later.
appreciate it. finally, andrew rafferty is covering the santorum campaign. one thing you can know about the santorum campaign just from us going to andrew, the santorum campaign is not in florida tonight. we are in las vegas tonight where the santorum campaign is essentially already moved forward. what are you hearing from the santorum campaign in terms of their expectations right now? >> yeah, well, you are right, rachel, the fact that i'm in las vegas right now shows they don't particularly plan on surprising anyone in florida and that was really santorum got down to the snipe state early part of that week. the campaign was really internally trying to gauge whether or not they should stay in florida how much they should play there and it was really towards the end of last week, after that debate performance on thursday in jacksonville. they were starting to see some momentum or thinking about staying through tonight, through the primary but then, rick santorum took a couple days off the trail. his daughter, 3-year-old daughter was sick, fighting for her life over the weekend. he came back after -- after that weekend, went to missouri, was in minnesota, colorado today and
he will be back in nevada tonight. so he is trying to play for those caucus states when not bypassing those winner take all primaries like florida. >> andrew rafferty embedded with the santorum campaign. thank you, andrew. interesting today to see a lot of the financial information disclosed by some of the pacs and by the campaigns, the santorum campaign very excited to show that they are cash positive, they are using that to underscore the fact that they say they are moving on. of course, all the candidates always say they are moving on before the voting is complete. we will see over the course of tonight whether or not there is pressure on any of these candidates to get out because of an unexpectedly poor showing. say one thing about the romney campaign, getting vivid imagery already. chris matthews describing mr. romney as almost stomping on the grave of newt gingrich, gleefully. we heard the campaign embed with mr. romney describing him as almost like watching "dexter," i will leave that to you. i will say the main ap story from the florida campaign, the first line of the main ap story today, out of florida described mr. romney as "oozing
confidence." confidence, good. oozing, not as good. when we runs, we will get our first reaction from our panel here, steve schmidt, ed schultz, lawrence o'donnell and the reverend al sharpton plus chuck todd, our nbc political director and hear from the romney campaign and gingrich campaign. msnbc's coverage of the florida primary continues in just a moment. >> why would anybody in the establishment think that a massachusetts moderate, which is a liberal by republican standards, pro-abortion, pro-gun control, pro-tax increase, pro-gay right, why would they think that he's gonna be able to debate barack obama? >> i know the speakers a not real happy, speaker beginning rich, he is not feeling very excited these days. i know, it's sad. he has been flailing around a bit, trying to go after me for one thing or the other and you just watch him, you shake your head, it has been kind of painfully revealing. [ male announcer ] the inspiring story
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welcome back to msnbc's coverage of the florida republican primary. let's go to our political director for nbc, chuck todd. what should we be looking for in areas of strength and crucial demographics? >> do it here, our handy state of florida we have it shaded simply in the poll closing time it is, as most of the state, the polls close at 7 eastern. we have got the tip of the panhandle there, pensacola west which, of course is central time. we are going to do this with red and green, so r, red for romney, g, green for gingrich, try to make it somewhat aliteratetive here. this is where we know romney is going to have some strength, the question is how much.
that is south florida, we expect him to win south florida big three counties there, college football fans, i like to call it the state of miami, but it is miami, broward, palm beach, where bill mccullum won, john mccain did well, the question, what kind of margins does he get out of there? we expect romney to do well in orlando, the question the margin, sort of orlando and those eastern suburbs. where gingrich should do well, the question how well, places like the upper southwest part of florida, i know that is a little bit, so in between the tampa bay area and down to naples and fort myers, it is a more conservative area. of course, the panhandle, think sort of tallahassee west, and then what i'm curious to watch for is jacksonville. because jacksonville is very much sometimes seen as sort of a -- the most southern city in the state of georgia, even though it is technically in florida, that is, of course, gingrich's home statement big swing area is tampa bay. so, and that is tampa, that is st. pete that is clearwater, that's those things like that watching those margins, a couple of things we will be aible to
learn about this, rachel, one is gingrich's strength in the panhandle area, including jacksonville, should give us a clue about where he stands, say, if super tuesday in march came along and all those southern primaries showed up, what kind of strength would gingrich have at that point in time, say if nothing changed between now and then and then watching romney's margins in these other parts will tell us a little bit, for instance, if he overperforms in the southwest part of florida he should do well in some of these midwest primaries, places like illinois, where there is a conservative voter there but they call themselves say somewhat conservative rather than very conservative. so, that's the strength we expect, orlando, south florida for romney, the parts for gingrich, clearly north florida, jacksonville, how close will jacksonville be? jacksonville, when romney was the conservative candidate four years ago, he won jacksonville. it should go to the conservative again, but what will that split be, what all right margins be? so, just some fun twice watch election returns as they come in tonight. >> chuck, one of the things we
have been watching, of course, how many votes are already banked, how many voted by absentee or early voting? maybe as much as like one in three of all the votes already done. is early voting something that is done throughout florida? any place in florida where that means most of the -- most of the votes are banked or something that's sort of a statewide phenomenon? >> the more banked voters should be, as far as romney supporter, all our polling and other polling, romney does better early voters, either the wealthier people, people may not be there, may travel more, they have more disposable -- you start going through, they are your snowbird, if you will. and so, they are more likely, that's why i think we have seen he does well in these other primaries, done well upper income republicans and that's majority of those early votes are going to be coming from them, so, that's why we expect him to do well. the question how well with the early vote? what's been interesting this time, rachel. as you know, a lot i have a tempts by a lot of these republican lemon slach dmurs different parts to get rid of early voting, shorten the early
voting period, do some things as far as election day voting concerned and this time, the early voting period was shorter this time than four years ago because that's law changed. >> i have single republican who requested an absentee ballot, called every single one of them, say they had their campaign going full blast there since last summer. steve, you beat mitt romney in florida four years ago. >> john mccain did. >> yeah, you helped. is -- when you look at the kind of organizational advantages that romney brought to this, did anybody have a hope of unseating him in florida? >> newt gingrich did have a hope. ten days ago, he was on top of the world, he had knocked mitt romney down but he was unable to
continue that momentum over the following ten days, he hasn't been able to deliver a clear rationale for his candidates, he talked about moon bases, he was all over the map, he lacked discipline. so, all of these hallmarks of gingrich, who we have seep when he gets up there, he is on top, he can't sustain it he collapses. but for mitt romney, if he wins tonight, newt gingrich is back in that very dangerous position for mitt romney, he is behind again and what mitt -- what newt gingrich has shown in this race is incredible res sillian i is john mccain came back from the dead in 2008 and other campaigns have come back from the dead. very rarely do you see a campaign in the same campaign come back from the dead twice, which newt gingrich has done. will he do it for a third time meeting super tuesday states? i don't know.
a lot of the early votes banked will be banked for mitt romney. >> i love the idea that gingrich campaign thrives best in zombie status? >> yes. >> like it does best when it's just been killed. >> what is striking about this week, the infrastructure, romney is a different guy. somebody took him in the locker room and said, dude, you got money, you got to get fire in the belly, the killer instinct, got go out and ham they are guy, got momentum in south carolina and turn this thing around. i think we have seen a demeanor change. i think we have seen mitt romney do things that he hasn't done before in past campaigns. he was never this negative on john mccain. all of a sudden, the light bulb has gone on, i think this is what he is going to be, if i gets the nomination, going to go right at president obama with this kind of negativity as well because the base eats it up, the tea party eat it is up.
this is his ticket to being that galvanizing candidate for the republicans. >> so ed is saying that he can see romney essentially having won florida by turning it around. steve is describing the ways in which gingrich may have lost florida coming out of south carolina. which do you think it is? >> from the start of the romney campaign, florida was supposed to be where they ended the whole thing. they were gonna, you know, do whatever they could do in iowa. then they are going to win decisively in new hampshire, then going to lose in south carolina, that was the original plan, we don't have a chance, then we go to florida and we really do it. he got 31% of the vote last time to john mccain's 36. i mean, that was a very close and strong second in florida. that is the floor he began with in what you call the six-year campaign. the guy has been there forever. before you get the organization, he has the prize the republican voters give you for coming by a second time. they just love to see you run
that second time, especially in their primaries, as worked for john mccain, as worked for bob dole and so here he comes on his second time, starting with that 31% floor and then gingrich has a bad week. >> do you think that this is the end of something here or do you think that the campaign goes on from here? >> i think that the nomination is probably romney's to lose, but i think that it may also have put him in a real pickle for the general because i think most voters nationwide have seen them enghanl political cannibalism and i don't think they are going to repair that political cannibal image on romney to come in like a blood thirsty political cannibal and say i'm going to out-negative newt gingrich and not going to work well in the general leeks. i agree with ed, he is going to come at president obama like that but president obama's not newt gingrich. and president obama is going to be talking a different vision.
if people are concerned about the economy, where the country is going, he is he has not answered that at all. for him to got next eight months beating down his opponent rather than uplift america that song will not sing long and it will not last. >> 68% of the ads that have been run in florida have been attack ads by newt gingrich. less than 1% of the ads that have been run in florida have been positive about mitt romney. positive ain't the way to go. >> the important thing about these ads, every one of them is pointing out why you aren't a good, solid conservative republican. how you are violating your party's orthodoxy. you can't do that ad against president obama. how does a romney or a gingrich or a republican nominee do the you have violated democratic party orthodoxy ad? that's not there. >> all right, still ahead, going
to be hearing from supporters of newt gingrich and mitt romney on this special halloween edition of the florida primary, where we have talked about canablism, grave stomping, oozing, and dexter, the serial killer. then back to chris matthews in miami for some brains, msnbc's coverage of the florida primary tops in just a moment, with less gore.
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welcome back to msnbc's coverage of the florida republican primary. polls will be closing across the state of florida at 7 p.m. local time tonight. florida is, of course, one of those states that stretches across two time zone, if you are in florida and you have not voted yet, your precinct closes at 7:00 local time, whether that is the eastern time zone in most of the state or the central time zone in the panhandle. let's go now back to chris matthews in miami, the republican party's former
chairman is with him. chris? >> thank you rachel w merck the former chair of the republican national committee. i'm thinking of the residue that's going to be left, after the big parade, clean up the trash off the street, you know how that look, doesn't look good in the morning. >> not pretty. >> the morning after this, the state going to be better for your candidate or tougher? >> i think it's going to be tougher a little bit. i think there is going to have to be some mending of fences here, come boardment, like we saw in iowa and i think talking to folks today, certainly some of the grassroots activists they don't like this idea that the establishment is honing down on them and beating down on them because they don't like newt. well, i like newt. that's the response. then you have got some of the romney supporters who are very annoyed with some of the messaging that have come out of the newt campaign. meanwhile, the ron paul and the santorum voters are sitting there going, can somebody grow up here? so you have got all these mixed emotions that are going to have to get resolved.
there's time to do it chris, but i think you raise a good question what happens. i use a recent example of secretary clint shallen, now secretary clinton and president obama. every state, they had a big fandango, every state they fought over she one most of the big ones, he won a lot of the small ones, most of the smaller one, every one of the states turned out right. whatever way they found to right you that fighting didn't tear down the eventual whipper. >> keep in mind, the fighting for the dems began later in the process, when it got a little bit serious and ugly, full. here, this is right out of the bongs and i think that has a tendency is linger for some folks it is one insult after the other. >> msnbc's coverage of the
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okay... is this where we're at now, we just eat whatever tastes good? like these sweet honey clusters... actually there's a half a day's worth of fiber in every ... why stop at cereal? bring on the pork chops and the hot fudge. fantastic. are you done sweetie? yea [ male announcer ] fiber beyond recognition. fiber one. hey, i love your cereal there-- it's got that sweet honey taste. but no way it's 80 calories, right? no way. lady, i just drive the truck. right, there's no way right, right? have a nice day. [ male announcer ] 80 delicious calories. fiber one. welcome back to msnbc's live could have ram of the florida republican presidential primary here in new york. i'm rachel maddow. polls close at 7:00 local time. the polls in the eastern time zone, polls will close at the top of this hour, again, florida's panhandle in the central time zone, we will not be able to characterize the race until those polls are closed
there, too, which is about 90 minutes from now. joining us now is carlos gutierrez, served as commerce secretary under president george w. bush. he is now supporting mitt romney for president. mr. secretary, thank you very much for being with us tonight. >> pleasure, rachel. thank you. >> one thing everybody has been focusing about nationwide the contest in florida is how negative it has been, monday to monday, the past week, 92% of the political ads run in florida have been negative ads, 0.1% of the ads from the romney campaign have been pro-mitt romney. is that what we should expect from the romney campaign going forward or is it just all negative all the time for florida? >> you now, we have this conversation every four years and i remember very well the discussion around president obama, then-senator obama and hillary, we all remember the south carolina comment that president clinton made. this happens every four years. i know and romney supporters
know exactly what mitt romney stands for, he wants growth, wasn't business to come back to the u.s., he wants investment, he wants entrepreneurship. if is not as if people don't know who he is. he is a man with a record, a man with performance, he turned around the olympics. he turned around companies, he did a great job as a governor. that's what people need to know because what they are looking for is a sense of competence. >> mr. secretary, with all due respect, mr. romney has not campaigned on that in florida he has not campaigned on what he's done. he has campaigned on what's wrong with newt gingrich. >> i have been to several rallies and i was in florida this weekend and i can tell you that the speeches, the focus the very relentless focus was on the economy, on jobs, on his parks on his background, on his results, what he's done. these what you're looking for who can do the job and people look at mitt romney based on what they know about him and
they say we believe that he can do the job and that's what's happening now in florida. >> secretary gutierrez, you and i have marched together around dr. king day. >> we have. >> and you mentioned mr. clinton's south carolina remark. how do you deal with the fact that some of the most anti-immigration things said were said by mr. romney? how is he going to deal with the communities across this country, having taken a posture that many feel is biased and borders on racial profiling? >> well, you know it is interesting, tend of the day on the party that tried to do anything about immigration is the republican party, or has done anything in a serious way. i have noticed, i say this reverend sharpton, as a proud immigrant, that the rhetoric has
toned down, i don't hear these words that lacerating when a hispanic person hears them. let's talk about a strategic immigration policy for the country that will make us more competitive, it is a very different tone than has been here there in the past and i'm pleased to see that as a cuban-american, as a hispanic-american, they may not be there, but i'm pleased to see that all candidates have toned down some of the words and some of the rhetoric. mr. secretary, ed schultz. earlier, a moment ago, you said that the voters of florida know where mitt romney stands. 38% of the voters in florida are 65 years of age or old. he has gone from supporting the ryan plan to saying on the stump last night that he is going to
protect social security, medicare and medicaid. what does the word protection mean? where does he stand on those issues and how does it play in florida? >> i will tell you what he feels very strongly about, that this administration cut $500 billion from medicare to pay for president obama's health care plan. that he feels strongly about and that he won't do and that he has said at every single meeting. >> is he for a voucher? >> i've heard him say it is a shame to take $500 billion out of medicare and put it in what is prominently known as obama care. that he won't do. >> but the key in all of this with the ryan plan is to voucher medicare. are the -- and that is a key point here that has been a sticking point with senior citizens. >> the key point is what you have done and what you do i have
heard mitt romney say several time, many times, that it is a shame that we took $500 billion out of medicare so that we could do obama care that is the real i. >> are you pledging tonight that in a romney president circumstance president romney will under no circumstances cut $500 billion from medicare spending, that there will be no reduction in future medicare spending by a president romney? >> i have heard president romney say that he is going to protect people who have retired or are coming up on retirement. and i believe governor romney, i believe he means what he says. and one of the reasons that i'm behind him is that i believe in him. i believe in him as an executive, as leader, as a manager and one reason is because he has done it. he has done it before. so he can do it again.
>> spores a plan, just so you know, he supports a plan that cuts spending in medicare much more than $500 billion. the ryan plan. >> what i'm telling you is he has been outraged about the fact he took $500 billion out of medicare to start obama care. taking it -- >> $500 billion from medicare, it is simply what he did in the accounting of the -- in the treasury with that money in that bill. >> my understanding of both is, look, the important thing here, we can parse the words and split the hairs, who can do the job? who has demonstrated -- >> what is the job? >> the job is to be -- >> we asked you about immigration, you said they just toned down. so, we have toned down anti-immigration and toned down racial profiling. we ask you about the ryan plan, you said you believe in the man
what is he specifically committing? you are saying that americans can believe in him, believe in what? is he for the ryan plan that he support which cuts far more than what you're saying or is he not, is he for immigration or is he not? i mean, not tone down, not being -- having better manners in a negative way. what is he saying? >> i'm telling you what essaying is what i just told you now, but more important than that, i mean, come on, reverend sharpton, let's go back and hear what president obama said three years ago. >> we talked about mitt romney though. we are talking about your candidate. >> that's why -- that's why it's more important, when you're hiring someone, when you are hiring the most important executive in the world. >> you don't talk about the executive who had the job before him. you talk about credentials. you are offering his resume, he is applying for the job, i'm saying what is he going to do on the job and you say the guy ahead of him was no good. >> he is going to return people to work.
he is going to stop regulations that are bashing businesses, he is going to bring investment to the u.s. you can't imagine how many foreign investors won't put their money in the u.s. because they don't understand what's going on. they don't trust the environment. that is the first time i have heard that in my life that will change under mitt romney. this question committee will grow. >> i agree with no foreign investments. >> he made a crack about mitt romney knowing about foreign investments. >> oh, come on. >> secretary gut you're rerkz you have been a good sport being on with us tonight. i appreciate it. >> thank you thanks for having me. >> thank you very much. it is remarkable to hear republican surrogate try to talk about the immigration as being positive for the republicans and medicare being a positive for the republicans right now when the -- when the party has moved so far to the right, even in just the last four years on both of those issues. plenty of time to talk about that and we are going to be hearing from newt gingrich's
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curbman the daughter of the former speaker. thank you for being with us. we know your time is tough tonight and he appreciate you being here. >> thank you so much for having me on. i really appreciate it. >> well, we just spoke with a surrogate for mr. romney, former commerce secretary gutierrez, who raised some interesting issues about medicare around the appeal of the romney candidacy in the state of florida, which has so many, as you know, older voters, your father's campaigning the gingrich campaign, has been very tough on mr. romney on the issue of medicare. is the contention of your father's campaign that mitt romney should not be trusted to protect medicare the way that he says he will? nch>> well, i think it's very interesting, we talk about entitlement reform, because it is a very hard thing to do whether it is social security or medicare, anything entitlement reform, it has to be done very, very carefully. as you know, my father is the only candidate in the ray including president barack obama, who has successfully reformed an entitlement.
and i really think that put him ahead of the others because he knows to do that you really have to move the country forward, you have to get a consensus buy in and do it in the way people will accept. he believes in the reagan premise that you have to first win the argument and then win the vote and that's how you really tackle these really tough reforms. >> on that issue of medicare, of course your father initially called the paul ryan plan to privatize medicare to turn it into a voucher program instead of what we know as medicare today, he originally called it right-wing social engineering. he got a lot of conservative criticism having done that and changed his mind saying he support the ryan plan s that a liability for your father's campaign, for the gingrich campaign, moving forward in terms of talking to an electorate that is very worried that medicare is going to be on the chopping block for a republican party that wants to turn it into essentially a coupon program? >> well, as you know, there are many things that can be cut and taken and used out of place. that is an instance he said it
he was asked a hypothetical question. you know as a reporter you shouldn't answer a hypothetical because it is, well, hypothetical. the were he addresses this is a big issue, along with social security, which he also talks about moving forward and making real changes on, he understands that these are really tough issues and you have to have a national conversation with the country about how is the best way to do it? how do you make changes, but to your point, hurt people that are using it today? that is a very complicated process, not something you want to rush out and do overnight, something you want to do in such a way, the congressmen and senators go home, they have people that come to their town hall meetings and talk about what the president wants to get done what ronald reagan didn't what dad did, we did welfare reform and eventually, president obama, after getting the third time, finally signed it into law. >> jackie, ed schultz. your father has undoubtedly spent a lot of time in washington, yet very few people in washington would vouch for him as a man who could lead the
country. the last week we have had a string open doorments that counter that last week in south carolina, texas governor rick perry endorse. i don't know if you heard his speech, it was a very moving speech, very, very gracious man, he talked about leaving to serve his country and my dad moving on as a conservative candidate. this weekend, we had herman cain came and endorsed my father, a grassroots motivator. >> people that swefrd your dad are not on board. people that served with your dad. he was speaker of the house. >> yes. yes. >> well -- >> for instance -- >> the part of the contract with america where is that crowd, where are those people? >> bob walker is actually here in florida working with us, former congressman greg yancey helping us so there are people that work with dad that help him. what you see, those are against him to your point, you see washington establishment that are very, very concerned about
governor romney making sure he gets in and they are fighting back against dad. they know because he led the contract with america in 1994, and because he actually put in place, he actually voted on everything he said he would in 100 days, even though many people said slow down it is too much, he fulfilled his word. they know when he gets to washington, there will be real change and real change is really hard for people that have been there a long time. >> jack day, is lawrence o'donnell, i can see you are very well versed in the gingrich campaign talking points so i don't even want to go there i want to ask you a family question, and this fascinates me. you had a perfectly happy and busy life before your dad decided to go off and run for president and here you are, thrown out there on the campaign trail every day, very, very active on this campaign along with your sister. my question is simply how do you do it? how do you give up your life and go out there and run around to all these different states like this and check into a different hotel every night? how do you do it?
>> well, you will laugh to know i actually last night went up to my hotel room, used the night before's key and i couldn't get in, to your point. but you know, we had this dish know how this is. we had this very serious discussion, my husband and i did, my sister and i did, dad and callista and all talked about it this is what i believe and why dad is running, said it eloquently at palm beach when herman cain endorsed him, this race is about the future of our country and i believe that we need a real conservative candidate, a leader this can make change in washington and get things done. i believe that man is newt gingrich. i believe that man is my father. i would not, to your point, i would not do this if i didn't think he is the person that we need to lead us forward, to make real conservative changes and get things done. i fully believe in him, thrilled to be on the campaign trail, otherwise i wouldn't get to talk to fun people like y'all. >> jackie gingrich curbman, we really appreciate you joining us tonight. good luck tonight, to you and your father around we will hope to have you back here on msnbc
soon. thank you. >> thank you so much. >> i appreciate it. the polls will be closing in florida at 7:00 local time. that means the polls in the majority of the state you can the eastern part of the state, will be closing at the top of the hour, in just about four minutes. we will start to see some returns. however, polls in the portion of florida that is in the central time zone, up in the panhandle, those polls will stay open for another hour, so we will not be able to give you any characterization of the race in florida at all until then. it is going to be an exciting night, as we start see those returns coming in. msnbc's coverage of the florida primary continues in just a minute. please stay with us. [ female announcer ] this is not a prescription.
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which still makes for a pretty enchanted tale. ♪ la la la [ man ] whoops, forgot one... [ male announcer ] sustainable solutions. fedex. solutions that matter. welcome back to msnbc's coverage of the republican primary from florida. polls close at 7 p.m. local time that means polls have just closed in much of the state of florida. we8 not be able to characterize the poll in any way until polls close in the entire state which is one hour from now. we will check back in with chuck todd. >> normally talking about numbers, i will give you a different number tonight, something i think to watch for, both the mitt romney speech tonight, whatever he ends up
talking about either victory or defeat and what he talks about going forward and that is 34. ready for this? 34 days since we could find any reference that mitt romney made specifically to his 59-point economic plan. i highlight this because right now we see the core of the party, tea party, very conservative who really wanted to have this debate about shrinking government. mitt romney has not given them something in the way herman cain gave them something, frankly newt gingrich, whether it is a flat tax, whether it is something truly sort of, as you keep hearing the description from the talk radio tea party crowd, bold ideas. romney hasn't done it. what the primary has been about is mitt romney making newt gingrich unacceptable and what has he done to win the folks over? that is his challenge. he got mocked, if you recall, when he said i have a 59-point plan. remember the plans, herman cain mocked him when he was in there others mock him for doing the
same thing, rick santorum started beating him up over point by point. this is what you hear, saw you on the wall street editorial page today, seen it from others, which is mitt romney needs to offer something to this core conservative group that you know what you can -- trust me, may not trust that he is -- his past is very conservative but give themming? that they can hold you accountable forrerly that will test your conservative credibility. he has yet to do it. many ways, what you hear from the crowd, the way they endorsed newt, i would be okay with romney. but they are saying, look, until you acknowledge us, until you throw us a bone that we can hold you accountable for, we will make your life a little bit miserable going forward. >> we will see how miserable i guess tonight, depending on who wins and what the margin is. do you think that if the margin is huge enough for mitt romney tonight that he essentially decides he can weather that storm, doesn't have to take the people seriously enough, keep winning states? >> i think that will be a
challenge. we will see. does he want constant lit next month an array of folks on talk radio basically attacking them for taking them for granted, having the palins of the world do it sarah and todd, having herman cain do it, the michael reagans do it the tea party intelligentsia/talk radio crowd, it is sort of one in the same. got to remember the talk base of the republican party, it is the most vehicle of the party, can't afford to have them constantly badger him on this. he has to figure something out having to come up with some sort of new plan, new tax idea, that's the thing i keep hearing, people prodding him, come up with a simpler more easier to digest and bolder tax plan idea that could excite the base and have a conversation with independents. this isn't a case where he is going to cater on some social issues, if he does that, that could hurt him with end pen
dents. you make a stays case if he does something fiscally with the tea party that caters to them fiscally, actually, he can have a conversation with independents at the same time. >> chuck, thank you. appreciate that talking with you again soon. let's go back down to miami where chris matthews is anchoring our coverage tonight. chris, your reaction to what chuck just said there, mitt romney needing to essentially address the criticism of him from the right, needing to throw a bone to the tea party intelligentsia, as chuck called them more articulately than me? >> there is something, the great editor from the midwest, william white, talked about the divine dissatisfaction of the american people. i think even president obama, who has been president three years is dissatisfied what he is was able to do i think there is a yearning for all americans, left and the right, better than we have now, a less cumbersome perhaps government, a freer society, greater economic opportunity for everybody, all the things people care about in
this country. i think that earnist dissatisfaction, not always predatorer to, sometimes good old american, we can do better. i don't think mitt romney shares that, nothing in this guy's face, nothing in his background that suggests a yearning. an immigrant's aspiration, full, for a better society. he has got all he wants. his family has all you wants, they gotten their take. when you are hiding your money from the tax collector, sheltering it overseas, so you can have a farther life, you don't identify with the person trying to scrabble along making it in our society, who is a true patriot, left, right or center. why are you hiding your money oversea it is you are a patriot? seems like you are part of the problem n fact, you are one of the bad guys. i think he has a very, very difficult time identifying with the yearnings of the american people for the this country and earning that problem, he has a problem that he has earned, he has not identified with the
revolutionary struggle of this country for its last 200 years. it is not anywhere in his bones a revolutionary, anywhere in his bones is he dissatisfied with the america he was born to he was born to that weird small portion of america that had it happened to him. he says he didn't inherit it he inherited everything, his education, his status, governor, father head of an auto company. everything about him was basically happeneded to him except the money that came from that for him to say i'm part of this revolutionary spirit of the tea party, he count be caught dead at a tea party meeting, it is below him and i think they know it. i think anyway you suggest, chuck did, there is a way for him to pretend he is the leader of the movement, he ain't in the movement, left, right or center, he is never in any mom. did he ever rally against the war in vietnam, ever take off his sports colt and show a protest at anything that ever happened in american life? no because he has been fat and happy. he has benefited from the way
things are from the status quo, from the regime, from the aristocratic background he grew up w how can he pretend to be at the barricades, rachel? i don't know any consultant that can help him do that >> let me bring everybody into this discussion it is central, i think the romney campaign and mitt romney himself knows he can't credibly jump up on i don't to the barricade and pretend to be leading any sort of insurgent anything. he knows that even though i hear the case that chuck is making, if i were mitt romney, i would not try to make a tea party case. i would count on the tea party folks coalescing around whoever the nominee is going to be and i would -- i would continue carpet bombing all of my rivals for the nomination. i would expect to outlast them. i would be the guy hot party admittedly settles on and i would assume that the insurgents going to come along. i would not court the insurgents. what would you do, steve? >> i think last week, in order to run against barack obama and to beat the president in the general election, you have to be the republican nominee and i think after the floss south
carolina, that was very much in question in the eyes of the romney campaign and just no doubt that the senior leadership of that campaign had a discussion that it was time to toughen up and that they had to take newt gingrich out. now, that is not going to be enough to beat the president in a general election. he is going to have to offer a positive vision about where he wants to lead -- >> wait, has he taken newt gingrich out? has he done enough? >> well, i think that he has -- i think he has put them down in florida, i don't think that gingrich is going to get out of the race, i think he is seriously weakened. i think he has a hard time coming back from the dead for the third time in this campaign. i think ultimately, campaigns end when they run out of resources. there's going to start to be a dimunition of money coming into the campaign, you move ahead to the national primary, deet facto national primary on super tuesday. so, mitt romney made a decision that he was going to put newt gingrich down, but there has not about a positive vision offered for the country where he has gone out there and, you know, the sense that ronald reagan did, where there is a happy
conservatism and in order to beat the president, no longer cover political story the entire primary season is the fact the president's approval numbers, not skyrocketing up are on a very clear ascent. he hovered around 40% approval from july to december. he is up in the high 40s. he is not somebody who is going to have a cake walk to re-election but he is clearly in the range where he is starting to look a lot more like where george w. bush was in 2004, you know, as opposed to, you know, as opposed to being, you know, where george w. bush was in 2006/2007. i think plenty of time to be positive later f i was romney, would concentrate on putting gingrich down. >> get the victory, you got the money, don't have to to talk about economic plans but it is hurting romney, hurting him with his high unfavorable number, continues to go up, not only with people across the country, but also with independent voters. now, that's something that he is going to be able to deal with later. he can always come back.
basically, chris just described a gay who is totally out of touch with the country but he might not be out of touch with the republican party, no offense, steve. but the other thing, he has got a let's win it now strategy, we will deal with the general election later on the you can't be in the general unless you win the primary. we got money to deep six all the other guess, they can't stay with us. they know him at bain, made a lot of to money, i'm a business guy, i can say things obama can't say because he has been in a business world where president obama hasn't been. so he his playing to basic strengths now, not saying 22% corporate tax and 999, don't have to go there let the money wipe him out and money come back later on when he doesn't have any competition and he will eventually turn to his own party and say, look, you really want obama again or you want? he forgive some sins, let's move forward. >> i think that's exactly what he has in mind, but i think the eloquent description of this man
that we just heard from chris matthews, from where chris sits, everything that chris was talking about that he doesn't see in him, is going to be necessary in the general. this guy's kids have $100 million trust fund. not only was he born into his father's wealth and his father was able to get him to the harvard business school, set him up in business yes could create this bain capital operation and become richer than his father, which is why he only inherited $1 million from his father, 'cause he was richer than his father when his father died but what chris is talking about is that this guy can't give that speech that includes worry about our children. his kids have $100 million before they ever went to work a day in their lives. he doesn't have any of those worries. chris crystallize it had for me in a way that it just -- it hasn't come together before now, that i -- he doesn't have any
connection to the american experience of the voter. >> but see, i think the real problem is that if he was just attacking gingrich, he could play that let's win it now and i will clean up later. the problem is he said things that's going to be hard to clean up later. he has come out against the dream act. he said let detroit die. he is not going to be able to flip back what he said so type, you can beat gingrich, but i'm with the ryan plan. i'm saying i will let detroit die i will kill the dream act what he going to tell the independents? i just stayed this so i could beat newt gingrich? he has in many ways cast a die he can't take back and the thing that both the tea party around the occupiers are against, he is the picture of that you couldn't have painted a more perfect picture of what all americans are angry at than mitt romney
who inherited everything that both sides are angry at. he says look at me, i'm everything that all of y'all are mad at, now vote for me. >> what you are saying, newt gingrich has put his finger on, you want to know what newt gingrich did this morning, he opened up with how much money goldman sachs has given to mitt romney and said the conservative movement will not stand by and let wall street buy this election. >> don't give my kids 100 million, i don't have to pay the tax on it and sent money abroad. you like that tea party, that pie, i am the picture of the 1%. now vote for me because obama's no good. if you think that's gonna sell, i got a bridge in brooklyn. >> but here's one of the big things though, al, is that we are in unchartered waters here with citizens united. we have seen a swing from south carolina to florida politically hard to predict and how do we know? >> money, money, money. >> is it going to be able to swing some people back to romney? i mean, we are talking about november.
you know, this is -- tomorrow is the first day of february. you know, people's memories on political stuff, they are going to vote their pocketbook this guy gets up there and makes the case he can do better on jobs, he is going to fix your tax, he is going to be more business friendly, who knows where all that citizens united money is going to affect those independent voters will right now don't feel very good about mitt romney. romney right now is looking like a winner to the republican party. walking with confidence, talking with confidence. i got this field. i got my money. i'm confident. i will keep this simple and basic and not give theme a lot of plans. >> won't be the first confident fight they're got knocked out. >> i agree. he has got to watch the left hook. no doubt. >> when we return, we will be hearing from two key florida supporters of mitt romney and newt gingrich, plus a look at the exit polls why flow florida voters voting the way they are today.
we are back. thanks for being with us here as we cover the republican presidential primary in the great state of florida. right now, there's about 19% of the vote in. mitt romney leading with 49%. newt gingrich at 29%. rick santorum in third at 13%. and ron paul at 7%. again, this is just 19% of the vote in. you don't necessarily want to extrapolate from this. this partly reflects early voting are. but parts of florida are still voting at this hour. in the parts of the state that are in the central time zone, panhandle in florida polls are not yet closed. so, don't extrapolate that from the full state. we will be watching as results come n we will not be able to
characterize the race until the top of the hour when all polls in the state are closed. in the mean time, going to hear now from supporters of both mitt romney and newt gingrich, starting with u.s. congressman john micah of florida, who supports mr. romney. congressman micah, thanks very much for being with us tonight. we appreciate your time. >> my pleasure and thank you. >> excellent, he had schultz, my colleague, has a question for you. >> sheldon whitehouse is going to be introducing you the buffett rule in the senate. a poll today shows 65% of the american people are for that buffett rule. the president talked about it the state of the union address. basically what it would do, raise taxes on people making over $1 million a year at 30% rate. would mitt romney go along with that? what would he counter it with if he didn't go along with it? >> well, again, i think you probably have to ask mitt romney. and, you know, this is part of that gamemanship with the current administration, pit the wealthy against other folks in
society and i think people have rebelled a bit against that and we have seen that in the florida primary, a strong wind of mitt romney. >> congressman, 65% of the american people think the wealthiest americans should pay more, they like the buffet rule. >> you have to see how it is crafted. there is room for closing some of the loopholes, so again, i think our problem is not just a taxing problem here in washington, it is a spending problem and we have got to get spending under control. i think fairness in taxes and looking a at much fairer tax scheme than we have now can do a
lot to make people feel everyone is paying their fair share. >> congressman micah, this is rachel maddow. thanks again for being with us. mr. romney had been reluctant to release his tax returns both when he was running for governor of massachusetts, did eventually change his mind and decide to release some of them this year. one of the things we did not know before, never listed on his candidate disclosure firm forms, he has been stashing money in places like switzerland and the kayman islands, places that are essentially notorious tax havens. does that raise issues of patriotism for your candidate? why would somebody be offshoring their millions? >> i think what it raises is what you see as far as return, maybe mitt romney or anyone else, we have got millions of senior steps watching this process, everybody looking for a better return and where they can get that return. again, we have to have policies
in the united states that keep money here, that will allow, whether it is mitt romney or some grandparent or someone trying to take care of their retirement, i hear this all the time, get a good return and a fair return. we don't want people putting their money again, whoever they are, any place else. >> mr. romney has sheltered his millions in offshore accounts. also in your state you in florida closed plants, closed places that employed people by the hundreds and sent those companies overseas a company called dave baring, many of those jobs went to germany, he got a better return for himself, not a better return for the country. does this raise basic issues, not just of financial confidence, whether he is shrewd of making money for himself but whether or not he has ever acted with america's best interests at heart when they conflicted with his own economic interests?
>> let me say two things. first of all, whether it's parking your money and getting a return, whether it's investing in business, we have got to have policies that encourage investment manufacturing in the united states and mitt romney know what is that takes. he has rescued some companies but you can't rescue them all in a free market and you can't subsidize them. we can't be rewarding failure around penalizing success. finally, let me say this, now, i have been in florida politics for many, many years, been in business, but i have never seen an assault on candidate to the extent that they have come after mitt romney. everything you mentioned has been brought out here and then some, attack from the white house from everybody. and look at the vote of confidence he is getting from florida which i think is a microcosm of america. it says a lot and the people have seen through all of these bogus arguments. >> congressman john mica, even
despite the fact that you just called my argument bogus, i'm still very thankful. >> i still love you. thank you. >> thank you tonight and good luck tonight, sir. appreciate it. >> thank you. thank you. bye now. >> former u.s. congressman and former florida attorney general bill mccollum is the florida state co-chairman of the gingrich campaign. mr. mccollum, thank you very much for being with us. happy to have you here, too. >> you're welcome. glad to be with you tonight. thanks. >> we just spoke with congressman john mica who is supporting mitt romney there. a couple of us really pushing him on mitt romney's economic history, his personal economic history in terms of offshoring millions of dollars but also closing down companies in the united states and shipping those jobs overseas for his own personal profit and for the profit of his investors at bain capital. some of those are the same attacks that mr. gingrich has made against mr. romney. why hasn't that resonated more in florida in terms of the poll numbers heading into tonight's vote in florida? >> the fact is mitt romney has outspent newt gingrich in florida four or five to one, he
has done attack ads, i had eight mailers in my mailbox from romney along, saying things about newt that weren't true. newt didn't have the money to come back on that there is a race that goes on after that, because romney does have baggage. i think newt is the more likely to beat president obama in the fall than mitt romney is, for a lot of the reasons that you are pointing out but also because when we are done with this race in florida newt will have the momentum, the conservatives because he will be consolidating one candidate. santorum is no longer a factor. we go to the next few states, the delegates chosen here, 15 probably contested anyway, the rnc rules on apportionment, i think romney 83, newt 25, you got to have 1,144 to win. we go on from here, we will look at the tea party posts, snubbed completely by romney in florida, people that really question whether he is the right one to be candidate, newt who is better off financially and then the blackmail, a report on that this morning, better than he was coming out of south carolina so
regardless of the outcome tonight, this race is going on and newt gingrich is ahead in the polls nationally right now as we speak and one other thing, i know it might not be popular to say on your network but the fact is that george soros this weekend said there wouldn't be much difference if romney were elected than if obama were president but a huge difference if newt gingrich were and newt gingrich is the shakeup artist and i think that's not going to serve romney well among the base of the party in the many, many states that come after this especially super tuesday and the tuesday after that. >> it is lawrence o'donnell here. i know many in our audience are saying where have i seen that guy before and i just want to remind them that you were one of the house prosecutors in the impeachment of president clinton. and you have a candidate their supporting, newt gingrich, who helped you lead that prosecution in the house. and he has apologized for things he's done in his past, sins, mistakes he has made. he has, in many ways, a difficult pass to drag through a political campaign as we have
seen. is the impeachment of president clinton one of the mistakes that you a and speaker gingrich might want to apologize for now? >> of course not. i remember the press wanted to make this all about sex, it wasn't. it was about the fact that the president of the united states perjured himself, flied a court deposition and most average citizens would be up for perjury charges about that a little like your question about romney. i'm a fan of newt's, not romney's particularly but to say romney has these problems because he doesn't relate to people, so on, president clinton didn't relate to the average joe in that case because the average joe would have been prosecuted in court for what he wound up losing his law license for and that's it and he got impeached but not convicted. i will tell you something else important about this, mitt romney has a problem that newt gingrich doesn't have on the other thing i'm really known for and that is filing you the lawsuit on obama care to get it declared unconstitutional as
attorney general and romney care is -- obama care is pat tender after. rick santorum made that point that newt is going to just as well going forward, how is romney going to debate the president on anything other than i want to repeal obama care? how does he get to the fact in massachusetts, you have this higher insurance rates than ever on people after six years of the plan there the fact you have a shortage of doctors and have to wait 48 dies get to see a primary care physician and so on down the road? i think this is going to be a very interesting going forward campaign. i don't think newt's past is going to be the issue. i think it is going to be the question of who is best going to be able to defeat obama in the fall and who is the most conservative, who is the reagan republican, the best economic plan, which the "wall street journal" says newt, 15 rates and supply side economics to get the country moving again that is what it will be b. >> congressman, one quick point about this did you know at the time of the impeachment prosecution that speaker gingrich himself at that time was involved in an extra marital affair and would that have
affected the republican members of the house if you all knew that at the time in going forward with the impeachment against president clinton? >> of course we didn't know, no it wouldn't have affected us. the committee, members of the house judiciary committee head led by henry hyde, looked at the records. couldn't get the democrats to look at them. the republican moderates at the time the impeachment articles were voted on said we are not sure we want to do this come and look at what is in the house annex, barney frank didn't want to look at them, they didn't want to have to defend what they would have seen over there so, it was a lot more could have been prosecuted for than he was. the public didn't want to do it. the biggest problem was the senate didn't want do t look that's old history. the present issues before us in this campaign are how do we get this economy going again and the huge difference is between the republicans and democrats, particularly president clinton and newt gingrich. we believe in supply side economic, believe in reducing the regulatory burned, size and
scope of the federal government, especially the tax, eliminating the tax on capital gain, believe that will create jobs and president clinton doesn't think that, he thinks the other way around and believe is building down our defense system way too fast and too long and the navy being eviscerated. we don't want to head to europe subpoena-style health care, which is where president obama is taking us. new england is the change artist, whether he wins the nomination or not the republicans will come after the president on very clear-cut issues, not about the past so much as about the future and that's where it should be when we have an equal playing field in dollars which we will have with newt and romney going forward and certainly have with the republican nominee and the president in the fall. >> former congressman bill mccollum supporting mr. gingrich but with some, if not kind act least inclusive word there is for the romney campaign. mr. mccollum, thank you for your time, we appreciate t. >> my pleasure. >> one thing clear tonight it is unlikely that speaker beginning rich is going anywhere any time soon, no matter what the results are in florida.
so, just does a long, drawn out campaign, what does it mean for the eventual republican nominee? is this campaign more like barack obama versus hillary clinton in 2008 in wit long, drawn out campaign resulted in a very strong nominee who won the general election or is this more jimmy carter versus ted kennedy in 1980 where the long campaign was seen as hurting the party's eventual nominee? msnbc's coverage of the florida primary continues in just a moment.
gingrich at 30%. rick santorum in third with 12%. and ron paul in fourth with 7% of the vote. again, not all polls in the state have closed. we are still waiting for poll closings in the panhandle of florida which is in the central time zone. polls will be closing there those will be the final polls to close in the state in about 25 minutes. the campaign trail is always a little bit ugly, but this year, in this contest in florida, it has been uglier than the usual ugly. >> the speaker was given an opportunity to be the leader of our matter that 1994 and at the end of four years, toad resign in disgrace. >> how much money has he made over the years foreclosing on floridians and how many of his people are lobbyist and how much of his money comes from place likes goldman sachs and how much of his money comes from the lobbyist? >> gone from pillar to post, almost like a pinball machine from item to item in a way which is highly erratic and does not suggest a stable, thoughtful
course which is normally associated with leadership. >> if you've been campaigning for six years and you begin to see it slip away, you get desperate. and when you get desperate, you say almost anything. >> and those are just the kindnesses that the candidates have had for each other, to each other's face, or at least out of each other's face. the ads have been even less subtle. >> what kind of man would mislead, distort and deceive just to win an election? this man would, mitt romney. >> while florida families lost everything in the housing crisis, newt gingrich cashed in. gingrich was paid over $1.6 million by the scandal-rind agency that helped create the crisis. >> in the last week, from last monday to this monday, a full 92% of the ads in florida have been negative ad, 92%. newt gingrich is vowing to stay in the race until the convention in august, which means super pac money will likely continue to
fund attacks on republicans, by republicans for months yet. former alaska governor sarah palin has not endorsed newt gingrich the way her husband, todd, has but she has said that she wants the race to keep going and she, therefore, wants newt gingrich to keep going. she says the longer the nominating process lasts, the strong earth eventual republican nominee will be. the question for republicans is sarah palin right? is the 2012 republican primary race like the '08 race for the democratic nomination? hillary clinton and barack obama's long knock-down, drag-out coast-to-coast fight resulted in a stronger obama, more capable of winning a general election. or is 2012 more like 1980 when ted kennedy, going for the democratic nomination, went after fellow democrat president jimmy carter so forcefully even though jimmy carter became the nominee, common wisdom has it at least that he never really recovered and he then lost decisively in the general election to republican ronald reagan. so, what year is this? obviously 2012, a more like 2008
or one that is more like 1980? a long contest here help republicans or hurt them? >> i think this is absolutely devastating to republicans. my hour hour last night at 10:00 was about how the republicans have done and continued to do everything they possibly can to re-elect president obama. it is going perfectly for the obama campaign. all this negative advertising in the key state of florida against the republican nominee, whoever it is, has been going on and the obama campaign hasn't had to go down there and lift a finger while this is going on. it is perfect for the obama campaign. >> do you think this is more like 1980 or 2008 or is the analogy imperfect, chris? >> wow, could you write thousands of words on the differences. i think it's more like '80 with ted kennedy and jimmy carter. there was bad blood there from way early on. i do think there was a wondrous thing, not quite sure how it worked, that somehow secretary -- now secretary clinton and now president obama
were able to settle their fish. i think part of it was that they basically improved their political situation in every state they fought in. look at the states where they had their real battle royale, north carolina, indiana, hillary clinton won about half of them. she won certainly all the big states except for illinois, yet in every case where she won, she didn't mess it up for obama. it is so interesting, this is worth studying in the annals of politics, how they both ran against each other on issues. let's remember the issues, the war in iraq, barack obama, as a state senator, opposed the war. senator clinton had voted for it with some caveats but had voted to authorize it and never really come back on that. so, that was a good issue to fight barks good democratic issue, where the president ended up being with most people in the party. then fight for things, as tim russert brought up, fighters of the new york process of spitzer's process of giving away driver's licenses to people that didn't really have a firm documents here. and those kinds of things,
pretty good fights, actually, but they didn't destroy them, they didn't destroy the party in november and i think, boy, it was just like lawrence just said, this is a battle plan for destroying yourself, that was a battle plan for winning in november that kind of fight is a wonderful model for fighting it out in a way that leaves your party strong. >> do we see the democrat -- the republicans coming together and having that wonderful meeting the way barack obama and hillary clinton did at senator feinstein's house? because everybody was on the same page after that meeting. there was no aftershock politically. it was obama, going to move forward, they wanted change, had to shift from the bush years to do different things for america? it just seems to me that the republicans are setting the table here where -- i don't think you're gonna see newt gingrich come out and say, oh, mitt, he is a good guy, i really didn't mean t. >> you know, even on our air
tonight, you heard bill mccollum, we are talking to him, sort of giving him the opportunity to go after romney, he does not take the bait and at the end of it he ends by saying whether it is newt gingrich or mitt romney, we are all going to be all right against president clinton. we also saw that from herman cain of all people, herman cain coming out on saturday night, endorsing newt gingrich, going hard against mitt romney but saying today, i would be very okay with mitt romney. i should note that herman cain was asked if he would ever run again himself and he said no, because his biological clock was ticking. so in -- >> i know what he meant. >> miracle. herman cain is pregnant, which i think is wonderful for him
increasingly if you look at the trajectory of the ray you will see more and more republicans start to worry about the impact all the negativities h >> you think it is about to go worse? >> i think that newt gingrich is not getting out of this ray i think we have five weeks to super tuesday. i think tomorrow begins the beginning of the counterattack here. it is going to get very rough it is going to get very tough and the talk radio wing of the republican party is not going to capitulate to mitt romney. they are going to step up the attacks and it is going to be a bath, i think. >> one last thought for you, al. >> sarah palin, for once, i agree with her, i don't endorse mr. gingrich but i hope he stays in the race and i think the critical point is what steve and
chris said, this is not a debate about issue this is a debate about character, as long as they keep attacking each other's character, they are only helping re-elect president obama. at the end of the day, they are all debating about who is the most crooked and who is the most immoral and who is the most unsavery. they are not arguing about a war. they are not arguing about the economy. they are not arguing about -- he is saying you went to tiffany's the other one said you went to swiss, the other one -- it is back and forward and all we have to do is stand back and let them clobber each other because at the end of the day is not about the people it is about who got away with more between two guys that are calling each other crooks. >> so teddy and jimmy didn't do all that great stuff in 1980? >> we lost that is the point. >> ted kennedy took it all the way to the convention and stood on the stage at the convention no announce that he was
surrendering and that's yes delivered that final line of the dream will never die and i can tell you that us boston guys voting for teddy kennedy had our dream die at that moment, at that podium and we did not bring an energy to the carter re-election after that. >> and that's the big difference. even then they lost n 2008, doesn't have that. there's no way you can imagine willard pinting gingrich secretary of state. you just can't imagine it. >> lawrence, let me say this longer campaign is not going to toughen up the candidate for the republicans it will hurt them even more. >> gingrich this vow to take it to the convention, i don't believe, i will believe it when he does it if he does it this is a disaster beyond description. here we have our professional republican, our ranking republican, with most expertise of anyone i know saying he thinks it's gonna get worse? it can get worse, steve? >> i think it can get worse. i think gingrich was so smart to announce he is going all the way to the convention because it totally takes the heat off the
question of whether he is going to get out before super tuesday. no one from an expectations perspective, sitting here talking tonight, no matter how big the gingrich defeat is tonight, if he is, you know, if he is defeated, no one is talking about getting out of the race and in fact, no one is talking about him getting out of the race before super tuesday, so i think that you're going to see a prosecution of mitt romney, pro-gingrich side of the aisle here to so to speak. see aggressive attacks on talk radio the net result it is you are a republican, focus is on beating the president who is a very tough campaigner, gave a very good political speech. when you watch these republican primaries and you watch the actual president obama as opposed to the caricature that appears in so many of the debates he is going to be a tough opponent, even if everything is going swimmingly for the republican party and i think this campaign of absolute destruction that's about to be
waged, coming particularly from the gingrich side, going forward the next five weeks is going to have a disabling effect. it is going to be a very tough campaign. >> polls closed in florida at 7:00 local time, meaning they will be closed across the state atop the hour, 13 minutes from now. we expect to have our first characterization of the florida race then. also going to be hearing from the founder of the tea party patriots, heard somebody from the gingrich campaign this hour saying mitt romney has snubbed the tea party in florida. we will find out if that's true according to the tea party themselves. msnbc's coverage of the florida primary continues in just a moment.
welcome back to msnbc's live coverage of the florida primary. polls across florida will be closed at the top of the hour. we will have our first characterization of the race at that time. right now a 50% in, mitt romney at 48%, newt gingrich at 31%. jenny beth martin is a co-founder of the tea party patriots. miss martin, thank you very much for being with us. appreciate your time. >> thanks for having me. >> you said after the south carolina primary that newt gingrich's victory there was a victory for the tea party. bill mccollum from the gingrich campaign tonight said mitt romney has snubbed the tea party in florida. do you think that's true?
>> i -- i said in south carolina that newt's victory was a victory for the tea party because there were so many people in south carolina involved in the tea party supporting him. and what we have seen in florida and what we saw in our teleforum on sunday night is that mitt romney, santorum and newt gingrich, all three, are embracing the values and the issues we have been talking about for the last almost three years. >> so you don't have any preference between those candidates? you don't see that any of them indicates a republican establishment vote that the tea party would be looking to overturn? >> i think that all of them have their pros and their cons. and that we're going to have to see how the whole process plays out. but they're all promising to cut the federal spending, and all three of them did that on our call the other night, which is good for us, because we feel like the federal government is spending way too much money. >> republican candidates sort of always promised to cut federal
spending. the difference is as the tea party movement i think has adequately pointed out, there has been some distance between the receihetoric and reality of republicans once they're in office. if you're liking their promises, what makes the tea party any different than the republican base who always promises that every four years? >> that's a brilliant question. the fact of the matter is they're promising to do this, but we learned our lesson. we don't trust any of them. even if -- no matter what they say, we're going to -- we're nailing them down on their promises right now and then we're going to hold them accountable once they get in office because we have seen even when the republicans controlled everything in the early 2000s, the spending still went up, the deficit went up, and the debt increased and we can't continue to do that. we don't want to see our country go the way of greece. i don't think anyone in america wants that. and we need solutions. >> is there, i guess it surprises me to hear you say you don't trust any of them. is there anybody who you wish
would still be in the race or would have gotten into the race who you would trust implicitly? are there any republicans who you think have earned that? >> no, i really don't trust any politicians at this point. first, they're all fallible, all human. and, second, if we don't keep our eye on them and watch them all the time, they have shown time after time they'll take the money, they'll take the power and they'll run. and they'll completely ignore the american people. >> jennie beth martin of the tea party patriots. last time we tried to talk to you, we lost you because of some crazy tech nanical difficulty. i'm glad we got a hold of you tonight. we turn to tamron hall. >> in 2008, and again this year our nbc news exit poll asked florida republican primary voters what should happen to illegal immigrants working in the united states. and take a look. we're finding some very interesting shifts out there.
more than a third of voters in today's primary, 36% said those workers should be offered a chance to apply for citizenship. by the way that is up 7 points from four years ago. those who stayed in the middle, no real change there, saying most illegal immigrants working here should be allowed to stay as temporary workers. but take a look at this next number here. we see a nine-point drop in the share who say those illegal immigrants should be deported to their home country. 31% today from 40% four years ago. we'll keep watching this question closely tonight to see whether shifting opinions about illegal immigration made any difference in how florida republicans voted today. rachel. >> tamron, thank you. that's fascinating to see that, to see the republican party having moved so much more toward the right, so much more toward a hard-line position as republican voters in florida have actually softened their position on these issues. the dream act, as you know, was a republican idea in the first place. now mitt romney, the presumptive
front-runner tonight, saying he would veto the dream act, even as floridians -- floridian republican voters get more sympathetic to the plight of people in that situation in this country, according to the exit polling. fascinating. polls will be close clozing acro across florida at the top of the hour. we'll have our first characterization of the race. the last polls in florida close in about 3 1/2 minutes. we will be characterizing the race at that point. msnbc's coverage of the florida primary will be continuing in just a moment. stay with us.
now 8:00 in the east and polls across the great state of florida are now closed. nbc news can project that mitt romney will win the florida republican presidential primary. newt gingrich is a distant second. rick santorum will finish third tonight in florida. and ron paul will finish fourth. let's go back down to chris matthews in miami. chris, not a great surprise to see mr. romney winning this. mr. gingrich being characterized by nbc news as a distant second.
what do you think the importance of this is overall? >> well, i think the headlines are the same as we thought would have been written two or three weeks back. but everything below the headline is different. the idea was that romney would win in south carolina, wrap it up down here in florida. the most decisive state. it turns out he didn't win in south carolina, and he won down here, i would say in the worst way, by basically a dresden bombing of his opponent, not by selling himself. he has not sold himself to the republican electorate down here or across country. the battle remains ahead. newt gingrich isn't going to quit. so the headline remains as we predicted weeks ago, but everything below that is different. this campaign is not over. and perhaps it is just beginning. >> chris, thank you. u.s. congressman tom rooney is the honorary co-chairman of mitt romney's florida campaign. he joins us now from florida. mr. rooney, do we have mr. rooney? are you there? >> i'm here. >> thank you very much. congratulations tonight on your
candidate's win. my question for you is a basic one, which is whether or not you see this as the start of the general election now, or whether or not you still have a nomination to win here. >> well, i mean you don't want to, you know, count a win before you have it. but certainly if you remember back in the last election when mccain won florida, that was really the beginning of the end of the other candidates and he was well on his way to the nomination. this is a big deal, especially since it is winner take all. >> in terms of the overall strategy, you may have just heard chris matthews, my colleague, from "hard ball" describe mr. romney's win substantly in florida as having been a win in the worst way. 0.1% of the ads run in the past week were positive on behalf of mr. romney. is that the template moving forward? is this scorched earth going forward in order to clear the decks of his rival contenders? >> i don't know if it is
scorched earth, but it is certainly something that, you know, this is a full contact sport. we expect that romney will not leave anything in the locker room and do everything that we as surrogates and people supporting him expect him to do. the last thing i wanted to see is a supporter of romney in florida come out and kind of have a weak performance and say, you know, where is the organization and where is the machine, so to speak. we saw it. i think that, you know, it was fully effective. i don't know if you have the final numbers yet. we're looking at maybe 50% of the vote here. so that is what people that are supporting romney want to see. and in the end, i think the people that don't support romney are going to have to choose between romney and obama. i don't think for the republicans that there is even a consideration. >> let me put one fly into that ointment. and that is that in the washington post polling that was just done last week, your candidate, mitt romney's favorables are atrocious among voters overall. he has a 31% favorable rating,
49% unfavorable. among independents, his unfavorable rating is 23%. there are diseases with higher favorable ratings than that. he's seen very, very negatively. the only person seen more negatively in national politics is newt gingrich. is that the way to win, to be slightly less hated than newt gingrich? or do you start to build up a positive image of yourself with the electorate? >> well, it is actually also better than congress, when, you know, is probably easy to do. but, you're right. eventually this is a long process. eventually we will get into the general election campaign and the governor is going to have to try to convince more moderate democrats and independents that he's going to be the one that is going to help create jobs and he's going to be the one that is going to turn the economy around, help people go to college, help people buy homes, start businesses. that's going to be the litmus test of this election is my grandfather used to always say, people vote with their pocketbooks in the end. and the president -- or the --
mitt romney is eventually going to have eventually make it a choice between that and contrast himself with the president in that way. >> congressman rooney this is lawrence o'donnell. your candidate yesterday finally found a minute to not bomb newt gingrich. and he talked about the president finally and he -- his big complaint about president obama in florida is that president obama, as mitt romney put it, cut $500 billion from medicare to pay for the obama health care plan. i think you would agree that what those were, those were changes in medicare spending to make it more efficient, which is something republicans have voted for in the past. you voted for the ryan plan, which as you know cuts $500 billion from medicare. another almost $200 billion from medicaid, which is what supports the elderly in nursing homes in
florida. mitt romney supports you on that vote and he does not propose to restore any of the $500 billion that he says president obama cut from medicare. so what is mitt romney's objection to how president obama has handled the custodianship of medicare? >> well, i think that the key here is if you look at what mitt romney has said, and you look at what we have done and what paul ryan has proposed in the house, as opposed to what the president proposed with obama care, and in massachusetts, mitt romney said, look, we have got this percentage of the population that does not have insurance, cannot get insurance, and it is a part of the population that is truly indigent and truly needy and we have to help them. we talked about that in the house. and, in fact, if we go back to the last congress when i was a freshman, and we talk about, okay, we do need to do something about health care in america, for those people that are truly
poor, what happened with the president when he included everybody in this plan, rather than looking at what we can do to drive down the cost of health care for those truly indigent, that is when he lost republicans. and that's why it is such a divisive issue. and so, you know, moving forward, i think what mitt romney has said, and i think rightfully so, is that states get to choose what they want to do with health care and in massachusetts what they did is looked at the people that were truly indigent and truly in need and they addressed health care for those people, but not throwing everybody, like 92% of the people, into that same pot, which is what obama did with obama care. so i think that it is totally different and that's going to be the biggest debate of the general election by far. and so lawrence, i think you hit on what the big debate is going to be when mitt romney goes against obama. i'm looking forward to that debate. there are huge differences. >> congressman tom rooney, honorary co-chairman of mitt
romney's campaign in florida. congratulations to you tonight as a mitt romney supporter with mitt romney the projected winner of the florida republican primary tonight. as a person who lives in massachusetts, when i hear people say there are not 92% of people covered under romney care, that's almost exactly the percent of people covered under romney care because of his good health care plan. in florida tonight, newt gingrich is a distant second behind mitt romney the winner, with 62% of the vote in, mitt romney at 47%, newt gingrich at 31%. rick santorum in third at 13%. and ron paul with 7% in fourth place. rick tyler is with the pro gingrich super pac. congratulations on your second place finish tonight. i have to ask you if being characterized as a distant second place finisher tonight say disappointment to you, mr. tyler? >> it is a disappointment.
i think it is a disappointment for newt gingrich and also a disappointment for republicans in general. remember, as you noted, on only .01% of the advertising was positive about mitt romney. all the rest of it was negative against newt gingrich, over 13,000 ads. so we didn't hear from mitt romney tonight how he'll balance the budget, we didn't hear how he's going to restore prosperity. we didn't how he's going to create jobs. we didn't hear how -- we didn't hear any of these things. all we heard was how newt gingrich was a bad guy. i don't think that's -- that's one hell of a way to win a primary. go ahead. >> i was just going to say, we also heard a lot from newt gingrich about what a bad guy mitt romney is, describing him as the campaign -- the campaign describing him as despicable, and not just a moderate, which he was described as in south carolina, but a liberal. what did romney do to go from being characterized by you as a massachusetts moderate in south carolina to now calling him a massachusetts liberal?
>> well, i think his record is liberal in massachusetts. he enforced the strictest gun laws in massachusetts, he upheld a woman's right to choose to the point where a judge could overrule a parents, a minor getting an abortion. he raised taxes and got romney care, indistinguishable from obama care. i would characterize that as liberal. you may take issue with it, but i think it is liberal. >> is there -- your candidate, newt gingrich, said he's going all the way to the convention. is there any scenario you can see where your candidate and your supporters would say let's support mr. romney and at the convention, if romney is the nominee, is there any way you can say let's bring the party together, we were just joking, we don't really think he's the bad guy that we have been saying and it is really all right that he's done all of the things that we have been advertising that he's done? >> well, i think newt gingrich has a tremendous track record of
supporting republicans. he's done that virtually his entire career. and i think if mitt romney were to become the nominee, i'm sure newt gingrich would support him as president because he's -- even then, still be better than the alternative. >> rick, it is lawrence o'donnell. twi i want to ask a follow-up question and it is a follow-up question to your 3:00 p.m. interview today with martin bashir on this network, which i was glued to as you were in that engagement. martin asked you, he asked you about the money going into the super pac that you're running, the $5 million contribution followed by another $5 million contribution from the adelson family. and martin said to you, who negotiated the deal for the 5, then $10 million. and your answer was, i'm not going to comment on it. you want to try that again? i just want to ask you that same question again. who negotiates the deals with the adelsons for the $5 million
checks that fund what you're doing every day? >> well, the leader of our pac is becky percett. i don't have the contact with the adelsons. i'm grateful for all their support, but i don't -- i don't deal with them directly. that's what i was trying to say to martin bashir today. >> let me ask you, we heard from bill mccollum earlier in tonight's programming, supporter of mr. gingrich, of course. he said that in almost these blunt terms he said he wants rick santorum to get out of the race. he said after tonight, it is hard to see rick santorum going forward. do you think rick santorum should drop out? >> i think rick obviously has to make that decision for himself. i do believe that rick and newt gingrich are splitting a conservative vote and if those votes were bound together, we would have a clear distinct choice between a conservative southern georgian legislator, newt gingrich, against a massachusetts, i'll use moderate, mitt romney. i think that would be a much clearer distinction. i think the mistake that was made here in florida is we
allowed ourselves to get -- mitt romney to drag us into the swamp. i'm hopeful we'll head toward the high ground and once again show newt's record -- or legislative conservative record of achievement, when he was speaker, balanced budgets, $500 billion of debt paid off, 11 million jobs created, stock market up 130%, and we will pound away at that record of achievement and we'll let mitt romney try to, you know, make his case as a conservative, he doesn't have one. that's where the race is going to break down to from here on out. >> rick tyler, probably the soft underbelly of mitt romney now is the bain brand. 40% of the people view that as unfavorable, his work at bain. that's about the worst number he's got going up against newt gingrich, calling him a moderate, and a liberal, is that going to work versus continually pointing out his record when it comes to making money off people who were being foreclosed?
isn't that where your campaign has to go, to continue to chip away at the best number that is out there? >> well, we certainly made our best case about that. my contention wasn't a contention about capitalism or the way mitt romney conducted himself at bain. he said he created 100,000 new jobs and skid him to prove aske and so far he didn't prove it. they made profits off the same companies they drove out of business that was certainly true in south carolina. we know that damon was involved in medicare fraud when romney acquired the company. he didn't do his due diligence or was complicit and was engaged in medicare fraud up until the subpoenas flew in august of 1993. ironically the same month that he sold the company for a profit. that company eventually went out of business, was fined $119 million, the largest health care fraud fine ever levied against a company at that time. and i heard no reporter ask him that question.
i heard no answers about that question. but do we really want a candidate whose company, damon, he was on the board, was engaged in medicare fraud? >> rick tyler with the pro gingrich winning our future super pac. thanks very much for being with us. we appreciate it. >> grateful. >> that is the best glove that they have put on romney so far. the very best glove that they put on. now it is going to cost a lot of money to continue that narrative because as you heard, his answer was more than a minute, how do you condense all of that into a commercial. but when you talk about fairness, unfairness, income inequality and see the way mitt romney has made his money, people are uneasy about that. >> that's why i say as long as this goes the way it is going, they lose. he just accused a man of dealing with fraud, of foreclosures, of costing jobs. i'll endorse him if he wins. how is that going to sell to independents? s' he's a crook but i'll endorse him. >> you said the beginning of
this, newt gingrich doesn't do well with being ahead, but does great with being behind. it is true of all the campaigns. i think the romney campaign is best when they have ground to make up. and i think we should look for some punches flying fast from gingrich here on out. >> tough campaign. just reading here that there were robo calls being used by the gingrich campaign accusing mitt romney of denying kosher food to holocaust survivors. so this race -- >> at massachusetts nursing homes. he tried to cut it. >> and this race has just gotten incredibly mean and incredibly nasty and you look at some of the signage going up at the gingrich event tonight at 46 states to go. so a clear sign that he's not getting out anytime soon. the momentum four years ago after john mccain won the race in florida it was clearly on auto pilot, threw ough to super tuesday. and i think after that, you know, mccain became the de facto nominee of the party.
it would be very interesting to see if gingrich can put together a southern strategy, can he carry the southern states? can he divide enough of the delegates to keep romney from getting the clear majorities that he's going to need to wrap up the nomination, the earliest he can do it is the end of april. if everything goes perfectly for him, it will be interesting to see how much longevity newt gingrich has in the race. >> and let us not forget, as they're counting 46 more states, it is true 50 minus four is 46, but missouri and virginia, newt gingrich was not together enough to qualify to be on the ballot. so it is 44 states to go, plus some territories. no slap in the face intended to guam or puerto rico. we'll take some more of our exit polling numbers now. we have some new numbers on how mitt romney put together this win tonight. and for that, we go to tamron hall. >> our nbc news exit poll finds mitt romney dominated newt gingrich among most voter groups in florida. quite a reversal of what happened in south carolina. take a look. for instance, the debates you
were talking about, voters have consistently said they have been important, but take a look at this in florida. romney beat gingrich by 8 points. among those who considered the debates important in south carolina, i'm sure you recall where gingrich beat romney by 2 to 1 among that group of people. now take a look at this. another big difference in florida. we're seeing very large gender gaps. mitt romney is walloping gingrich among women by 22 points. and romney has a five-point edge over gingrich among men. here is another big factor. take a look at this. electability swung back in mitt romney's favor in florida. 45% in the florida primaries. that quality mattered most in their vote choice and will the candidate be able to beat barack obama? that's the top candidate quality in every republican contest this year. and one more thing for you, this time romney won the voters by 25
points in south carolina. gingrich won that group by 14 points. the debates, a much better performance among women, and being seen as the most electable, among the top keys to romney's victory tonight. we'll watch the numbers for more on this as it goes on. rachel. >> tamron, thank you. that's amazing. 25% was the margin by which mitt romney won voters who cared about electability, a reversal from south carolina. we're expecting to hear from mitt romney himself and from newt gingrich himself in the next few minutes. msnbc's coverage of the florida primary continues in just a moment. stay with us. this gets better.
romney himself momentarily. right now let's go back to miami and chris matthews. >> thanks, rachel. let's bring in david gregory. he's with us from washington. this victory by mitt romney, david, does this heighten the scrutiny of this now that he looks like he's headed toward the nomination? >> i think the scrutiny is what is he going to do for conservatives? where is the connection happening? we're looking at some of the numbers here. he had a big night. across the board he did well. tea party voters, conservatives, gingrich wins among those, very conservative. if you're gingrich and looking at the numbers and you see plenty of room to run here. i'm wondering in this speech that we're waiting for now, are we going to hear some of that romney where he looks to make more of a connection? this florida campaign, as you talked about day in and day out, chris, reporting from florida, has been about carpet bombing newt gingrich.
it is about not being above the fray. but it is about really neutralizing newt gingrich. he did that in florida. the firewall held. but where does the connection come in? where does he connect beyond the issue of electability, which is not swaying some hard core conservatives yet. >> i guess the question we'll come back to again, this whole question of his taxes. i just got information that he gave ten years of income tax returns to the mccain campaign when he was being considered for vice president last time around. those returns exist. they're in a form that could have been turned over to the american people in the last week or two. this whole question of offshore island investments, down here in the caymans, below here, over in switzerland, do you have a sense that if you were to get him before you, wouldn't this be a topic that everyone would want to know about, why have you hidden your money overseas, how many years did you avoid paying any taxes because if you're very elaborate tax avoidance plan? >> i think it is going to be an issue for them. i think there could be a second round of questions of really
digging into those numbers. and whether everything was paid, which, of course, he says all the appropriate taxes were paid. but just something that is that complex, financial instruments and accounting that are so complex to most americans who don't, you know, dream of making that kind of money. you know the obama campaign is looking to shed light on those. and we saw that it was not a very good run for romney as he had to deal with some of those disclosures initially. but he's made it fairly clear he doesn't want to go the route that his father did of releasing a dozen years worth of taxes which means there is only more to scrutinize. >> it just seems it is going to raise the trouble for him -- trouble for him that he was willing to turn over his tax returns in order to be considered for vice president. and he now has the forms. we know he would turn them over physically. why doesn't he turn over the same thing to us? let me ask you about the whole question of the negativity towards newt gingrich. you've interviewed newt gingrich over the years. do you think he's the kind of guy who could be, like, senator
clinton and later second clinton and say, you know what, this isn't my year, and basically back a winner with some full heart? >> i do think at some point it is possible. i think it has gotten pretty negative here, particularly in florida. maybe we have seen worse, but this has gotten pretty bad. i don't think, you know, i just think temperamentally, i don't see gingrich and romney coming together as some sort of team of rivals down the road. but i do believe in the end that gingrich is going to get on board, if he sees there is not a real pathway for him to get this nomination. but as long as there is -- the way these delegates are proportionately allocated, as long as there is enough of a schism between the establishment and the tea party, i think that gingrich tries to exploit them. >> yeah, i think so too. thank you so much, david gregory, moderator of nbc's "meet the press." now back to rachel maddow in new york. >> thank you, chris. one of the things interesting to watch in terms of that establishment and
anti-establishment dialectic, we're waiting for mitt romney to come out and speak here, that's the other part of the screen here, was to see newt gingrich this week deride the endorsements for mitt romney from john mccain and from bob dole. newt gingrich deriding them as moderate republican candidates, who lost in the general election. so who would want their endorsement anyway? steve schmidt, senior strategist for the mccain campaign, you have repeatedly said that the reason that john mccain didn't win had nothing to do with whether or not he had enthusiasm from the party's conservative base, that it was about whether or not he reached more independents, more people in the middle than the barack obama campaign. all this talk about whether or not mitt romney is exciting conservatives enough, how does that strike you given your experience. >> i think what will bind republicans to the eventual nominee is barack obama, is the cause of defeating the president. i think the republican party will be unified. i think actually both parties head for 47% of the vote.
the narrow slice of the -- determine the outcome is very small, 5% or 6%. and i don't think at the end of the day that will be decided by the conservative base of the party. i think you're looking towards independent voters and the electorate. >> so nothing that happens, in other words, in the primary is going to affect the electability of the eventual republican nominee. >> i think if the approval ratings collapse, i think if you drive up sky high unfavorables in that 6% of the electorate that will be determinative of the independents out there, you run into trouble. you don't want to spend a couple of months healing any breaches in the party, but at the end of the day, i think that presidential elections are won in the middle electorate. and if you look back at 2008, which is a problem that governor romney, if he's the nominee, isn't going to have, is the mccain campaign was outspent by about $250 million, $275 million in a terrible political year for republicans. 2008, even in the best of years,
from a climate perspective, being outspent, $250 million, $275 million, very tough to win the race. >> right now we're looking now at anne romney, the wife of mitt romney, standing there with sons and other family members awaiting mitt romney himself. the crowd obviously very excited to see mr. romney. this race was called right at the poll closing time in florida. and this is the last major race for some time. looking ahead at the next few contests, on saturday, we have got the nevada caucuses. there are a few other caucuses, one primary in the month of february. there is only one debate in february. mr. romney seemed to have performed well in these last two debates in florida. it is going to be very interesting month ahead. let's dip into what mrs. romney is saying here. >> we have made friendships from here all across this country, but in here, in florida, it has been wonderful.
you're from la hoya, fantastic. there are so many people we need to thank. the list is long. i'll ask you to do something and not to clap until we have gone through the list. but i'm going to mention a few people that have made such a difference. so please hold your applause until the end. commissioner adam putnam, our chairman. chief financial officer jeff atwater. pam bondi, attorney general. attorney general, pam bondi. ambassador john rude. ambassador mel sembler. you're not listening to me. senator connie mack. and senator mel martinez. oh well. i give up. and the members of congress who endorsed mitt. connie mack, jeff miller, john michael. >> mrs. romney going through the list of people who the campaign wants to thank, pausing after each person, thus inspiring
applause or acknowledgement from the crowd even though she asked them for no applause. a difficult situation to be in in the best of circumstances, even harder with national tv cameras on you. at this point, we're waiting for mr. romney to come out and make his speech. it is 8:31 eastern time now. that means as the campaign and the candidate fully well know this is an opportunity to address the nation. so what we have seen in previous -- in previous primary nights and you guys correct me if i'm wrong here, but we have seen candidates who speak to the room, to those immediately around them, who help them either in their victory or second or third place finish, not do so great in terms of the way it is represented on the national stage as a speech and the candidates casting their speech, the most broadly and to the nation doing better. is that a fair way to characterize the success? >> yeah, they put romney on a teleprompter as soon as he did one of those in the room speeches that made no sense and ended up relying on reciting america the beautiful. i'm sure he would be on prompter
tonight, addressing the nation. and very carefully scripted. >> that's probably why he had his wife go out of the room and the thanks tonight so he can now soar to the heights and read the teleprompter. >> be aggressive. >> let's listen. this is mitt romney with his family flanking him, having won the florida primary. [ cheers and applause ] >> wow. thank you. thank you. >> mitt, mitt, mitt, mitt, mitt, mitt, mitt, mitt, mitt! >> thank you so much. thank you. to the people in this room and the people all over florida, thank you, tonight, for this great victory. [ cheers and applause ] there are -- there are fewer --
there are fewer candidates tonight than when the race began. but three gentlemen are serious and able competitors and they're still in the race and i want to congratulate them on another hard fought contest in this campaign. primary contests are not easy. and they're not supposed to be. as this primary unfolds, our opponents and the other party have been watching. and they like to comfort themselves with the thought that a competitive campaign will leave us divided and weak. but i've got news for them. a competitive primary does not divide us, it prepares us and we will win. [ cheers and applause ] and when we gather back here in tampa, seven months from now, for our convention, ours -- ours will be a united party with a winning ticket for america.
you know, three years ago, this week, a newly elected president obama faced the american people and he said, look, if i can't turn this economy around in three years, i'll be looking at a one-term proposition and we're here to collect. [ cheers and applause ] and you know the results. i mean, it has been 35 months of unemployment above 8%. and under this president, more americans have lost their jobs and more home foreclosures have occurred than under the administration of any other president in history. and in the last ten days, i met with a father who was terrified that this would be the last night his family would be able to sleep in the only home his son has known. i've met seniors who thought these would be the best years of their life. and now they're worried day to day about how to make ends meet. i met some hispanic
entrepreneurs who thought they would achieve the american dream and now they're seeing it disappear. and in the state of the union address, the president actually said these words. he says let's remember now how we got here. don't worry, mr. president, we remember exactly how we got here. you won the election. [ cheers and applause ] leadership, leadership is about taking responsibility, not making excuses. in another era of american crisis, thomas payne is reported to have said, lead, follow or get out of the way. well, mr. president, you were elected to lead. you chose to follow. and now it is time for you to get out of the way. [ cheers and applause ] i stand -- i stand ready to lead
this party and to lead our nation. as a man who spent his life outside washington, i know what it's like to start a business. i know how extraordinarily difficult it is to build something from nothing. i know how government kills jobs and, yes, i know how it can help from time to time. my leadership helped build businesses from scratch. my leadership helped save the olympics from scandal and give our american athletes the chance to make us all proud as they did. [ cheers and applause ] my leadership cut taxes 19 times and cast over 800 vetoes. we balance the budget every single year and we kept our schools first in the nation. my leadership will end the obama era and begin a new era of american prosperity. [ cheers and applause ]
>> mitt, mitt, mitt, mitt, mitt, mitt, mitt, mitt! >> this campaign -- this campaign is about more than replacing a president. it is about saving the soul of america. president obama and i have very different visions of america. president obama wants to grow government and continue to amass trillion dollar deficits. i will not just slow the growth of government, i will cut the spending of government. i will not just freeze government share of the total economy, i will reduce it. and without raising taxes i will finally get america to a balanced budget. [ cheers and applause ]
president obama's view of a free economy is to send your money to his friends. my vision for a free enterprise economy is to return entrepreneurship and the genius and creativity to the american people. on one of the most personal matters of our lives, our health care, president obama would turn decision-making over to government bureaucrats. he forced through obama care, and i will repeal it. [ cheers and applause ] >> you know, like his colleagues and the faculty lounge who think they know better, president obama demonizes and denigrates almost every sector of our economy. i will make america the most attractive place in the world for entrepreneurs, for
innovators, for job creators, and unlike the other people running for president, i know how to do that because i've done it before. [ cheers and applause ] >> mitt, mitt, mitt, mitt, mitt, mitt, mitt, mitt, mitt! >> president obama orders religious organizations to violate their conscience. i will defend religious liberty and overturn regulations that trample on our first freedom. [ cheers and applause ] president obama believes our role as leader in the world is a thing of the past. he's intent on shrinking our military capacity, at a time when the world is facing rising threats. i will insist on a military so powerful, no one would ever think of challenging it.
[ cheers and applause ] president obama has adopted a policy of appeasement and apology. i will speak out for those seeking freedom and i will stand shoulder to shoulder with our friends around the world. you see, you see, president obama wants to fundamentally transform america and make it something perhaps we wouldn't recognize. i want to restore to america the values and principles that made us the hope of the earth and i'll do it. >> mitt, mitt, mitt, mitt, mitt, mitt, mitt, mitt, mitt, mitt! >> our plans -- our plans protect freedom and opportunity.
and our blueprint is the constitution of the united states. together we will build an america where hope is a new job with a paycheck, not a faded word on an old bumper sticker. [ cheers and applause ] let me be clear. the path i lay out is not one paved with ever increasing government checks and cradle to grave assurance that government will always be the solution. if this election is a bidding war for who can promise the most goodies and the most benefits, then i'm not your president. you that president today. but if you want to make this election about restoring american greatness, then i hope you'll join us. if you believe that the disappointments of the last few years are a detour, and not our destiny, then i'm asking you for your vote. [ cheers and applause ]
i'm asking each of you to remember how special it is to be an american. i want you to remember what it was like to be hopeful and excited about the future, and not to dread each new headline. i want you to remember when you spent more time dreaming about where to send your kids to college than wondering how you would make it to the next paycheck. i want you to remember when you weren't afraid to look at your retirement savings or the price at the gas pump. i want you to remember when our white house reflected the best of who we are, not the worst of what europe has become. that america is still out there. we believe in that america. we still believe in the america that is the land of opportunity, and a beacon of freedom. we believe in the america that challenges each of us to be
bigger and better than ourselves. this election, let's fight for the america we love. we believe in america. thank you so much, florida! you're the best! god bless the united states of america! thank you! [ cheers and applause ] thank you! >> mitt romney addressing supporters at his headquarters in florida after a big win tonight in the florida primary. nbc news characterizing newt gingrich's finish tonight as a distant second to mr. romney. you see mr. romney there with his wife and with his sons, with other family members. mr. romney giving a speech tonight that was short, that was about 99% a general election speech. all but ignoring his republican opponents. his republican rivals for the nomination, talking in applause ready lines about what he disagreed with president obama
about. this was in essence a general election speech, short, to the point, very well tested lines, nothing we have not heard before from mr. romney, certainly a best of and one of his strongest post primary speeches in my opinion, but i would love to hear an opinion on that from charlie crist, the former governor of florida, formerly a republican, now an independent. governor crist has not declared support for any of the candidates for president this year. but he joins us now. governor crist, thank you for being with us. it is nice to have you here with us tonight. >> it is great to be with you, rachel. thank you for having me. >> listening to mr. romney tonight, knowing that he has won the florida primary, are you still staying out of the race in terms of who you are endorsing and what do you think happens next in the republican nominating contest? >> that is correct. i'm going to continue to watch and observe and be hopefully a very good citizen, private citizen, and make a decision about november much later. i think what is important from today, obviously got to give
great credit to governor romney and his campaign. this is a decisive victory tonight. what happens going forward, i don't think anybody really knows for sure. we heard from speaker gingrich earlier in the week that regardless of what happens today, he would go all the way to the convention that comes back here to tampa, florida. and we'll see if that's the case. i think i heard a scenario where if he could get through february and go into super tuesday, with some other southern states weighing in, that that might give him another shot. and this has been an unpredictable year, particularly in the primary, where ten days ago, newt gingrich wins south carolina. tonight, a decisive victory for governor romney here in the sunshine state. and it seems to swing back and forth and i shouldn't forget rick santorum's victory in iowa. so who knows what the future holds, only time will tell. >> in terms of how the campaign unfolded in florida, i have to ask you, newt gingrich essentially played the charlie
crist card in florida. 'tacked mitt romney by comparing him to you, attacking him for hiring, for example, your former campaign manager and other staff members, implicitly criticizing mitt romney as an independent minded republican, or even god, forbid, a moderate republican. what is your reaction to that? >> well, no real reaction to the comparison. you know, any campaign, as you know, wants to try to get the most talented people they can to help them make sure they deliver a coherent, heart felt message that resonates with the voters of their state or in this case a presidential race of the country. it is interesting to see where you had speaker gingrich talk about the fact that he was a true conservative in the race, and you observed, i'm sure, the last few days where the speaker would be on the stump. and he would talk about prior positions of governor romney being more in the moderate tone, and you have this big victory for governor romney tonight in florida. so you don't know if that's the message about the tea party, and
maybe not as strong an influence as we saw here two years ago. again, it remains to be seen. the primary is not over. but this is a decisive night for the governor. >> governor crist, steve schmidt here, good to see you. >> good to see you, steve. >> four years ago, your endorsement of john mccain in my view put him over the top. and secured -- >> i'll say what you said earlier, senator mccain put himself over the top. at any rate -- >> your endorsement had a lot to do with it. i'm wondering if you would talk now with the benefit of four years of hindsight, you know, from that moment to today, how would the republican party change? how do you view the party as having changed over the last four years? >> well, i think there has been some pretty dramatic change. i think we have all witnessed that. you know, during the past four years, you saw the tea party's rise. that really was just in its beginning stages back in '08 and i think a lot of things really
started to change, steve, with the economy. and i think that brought about a more angry tone, if you will, and i got to tell you, this past week or ten days in florida, it has been a very angry tone, and regrettably amazingly negative. and my hope is, you know, as a floridian, as an american, we can get away from that negative tone. whether it is republicans, democrats or independents that we all are americans, and if we can have a more positive view going forward, we all had an opportunity to get things on the right track, and have a better future for all of our people. i think that's what they yearn for and want. i think the republican party has gone through a lot of twists and turns over the past four years. and i certainly would invite your analysis. you've been very close to it as well. >> governor, ed schultz here. thanks for your time tonight. mr. romney started this victory speech tonight in florida, talking about how this primary does not divide the party, it
prepares the party. do you think that there is no downside to these negative ads that have gone on in florida, that everybody is going to be able to just slap each other on the back and move forward? >> well, i'm sure that's the message that governor romney wanted to convey this evening. i'm not so sure that that's the reality of what's happened here in florida. everybody has an attachment to florida in one way or another, relative, friend, what have you. so many people have moved here from other parts of all over the country that they give reports about what has happened here, the $16 million spent on ads, 92% of those were negative ads. that has to have a negative impact. i don't think anybody watching this can think that that's a healthy thing for the republican party. it is a difficult thing. and it is going to take a toll. there is polling that already has indicated that the positives and the negatives have changed as it relates to both speaker gingrich and to the governor. >> charlie crist, former governor of florida, real privilege to have you with us tonight. thank you for the time.
>> the privilege is mine, thank you. in terms of who we have talked to tonight, every single person we have talked to expressed disgust with the way the campaign has been run in florida for the past week, except for the two romney surrogates, tom rooney and carlos gutierrez. they have no problem with how the campaign has been run. >> always good to be in the winner's circle. >> to your point about what changed in the republican party since 2008, when he was the republican kingmaker in florida, he is no longer a republican. >> yeah. >> he left the republican party and became an independent two years ago. he could possibly -- he told chuck todd this morning, he could possibly vote for barack obama when november comes. >> he said tonight that he would see what happens in november. he did not say that he would be supporting whoever the nominee was. he left the door open that he could possibly support president obama. >> tells you how far people have come. we're expecting to hear from newt gingrich himself along with rick santorum himself and ron paul himself. we'll be carrying those speeches live as they happen. mitt romney, again, though, the
50 delegates at stake, of course in florida. it is the largest delegate pot yet. it would have been 99 delegates had florida not moved themselves earlier in the process. but 50 delegates are at stake. mitt romney 47% right now with 75% of the vote in. newt gingrich at 32%. rick santorum at 13%. ron paul in a distant fourth with 7%. we go to chuck todd to help us understand exactly what happens with these delegates and how the florida win tonight figures into the overall race for the nomination. chuck? >> well, you're going to hear from newt gingrich in a few minutes. he'll talk about this fact, which is so far only 5% of all -- of all the delegates awarded, it makes up 5% of the entire total you need in order to get the magic number of 144. mitt romney will be up i think to about 73 delegates. let me go through this another way to show you why a newt gingrich is going to say there is no reason for me to get out and get out soon.
if mitt romney won every single delegate available to him, starting this saturday in nevada, after today, won every one of them, he wouldn't hit his magic number until april 24th. if he wins 60% of all delegates, approximately what he's -- what he would do if he was the favorite in all of the races in this proportional way, he wouldn't get the magic number until june 5th. let me point out a couple of dates i think obviously are going to matter. we talked about super tuesday. 419 delegates at stake. we are looking at four giant primary nights, march 6th, that's what newt gingrich is trying to get to because of the 419. that's a huge chunk. he would want to win a majority of that night to sort of lay claim that he has still got momentum. april 3rd is another potentially big day depending on when the texas primary is. and texas could be very interesting to watch because it is sort of a southern state, not necessarily a place you would expect mitt romney to do well if gingrich has momentum. that could be a big night for him.
april 24th and then june 5th. april 24th, 150 delegates at stake. june 5th, 264. you look at all of the big nights available, yes there is 50 pont, we'tonight, we're look barely not even 200 delegates that have been awarded. we have four primary nights where we'll have more delegates award on the four primary nights than the entire month of january. that's going to be the justification. now, of course, the big problem for newt gingrich is the month of february. he's going to have some caucus states, where he's -- he might finish third more often than he has a chance at finishing first. he may not finish first in anything. and then he's got to get there and he's got see if he can raise money. that's what will make february a horrible month for hillary clinton if you recall four years go, could be the same problem for newt gingrich. >> chuck, thank you. we're watching rick santorum headquarters where he's just started to address his supporters. let's go to that. >> well, let me just get to that. first -- the first thing i want to do, we're here in beautiful
las vegas, and where the next primary caucus state is going to be here in nevada, where i think we'll have a little different result than what we saw in florida. [ cheers and applause ] and i first want to congratulate governor romney. he ran a very spirited race. and he is to be congratulated for his resounding victory in the state of florida. congratulations to governor romney. and let me just make one side comment because it is not a side comment to me, it is a very important comment to me. i want to say to everyone on behalf of karen and of all of our family, you know, when we had to jump off the campaign trail to care for our daughter bella, it was a very trying time. and, you know, this has been a pretty tough campaign. and campaigns and things and politics have gotten pretty nasty on both sides of the aisle and certainly across the aisle. and i just have to say for -- on
behalf of our family and seeing the outpouring of support from folks frankly on both sides of the aisle and from across this country of all political stripes toward me and karen and particularly to our daughter bella, i just want to say to everyone thank you for that support and for those prayers. bella had a tough couple of days. but she has -- she has turned around. she is recovering and she is going to go home tomorrow from the hospital. [ cheers and applause ] so thank you. >> from the volunteers and the staff here in nevada, it is a big giant stuffed elephant. and signed by all the -- >> thank you very, very much. thank you. well, thank you very much for that. and it is -- it is great to be back here on the campaign trail, talking about the important issues of the day. if there is one message i think we got from the campaign in florida is that republicans can
do better. we can do better than this. we can do better than the discussion and the dialogue and the accusations that were going on in the state of florida and really this campaign, you know, went downhill. i went to florida and, of course, participated in the debates. i thought we did a good job in those debates. [ cheers and applause ] and while we didn't get into the melee of the negativism, as i said at the debate on jacksonville thursday night, the american public does not want to see two or three candidates get into a mud, you know, a mud wrestling match where everybody walks away dirty and not in a position to be able to represent our party proudly. we're going to have differences on the issues. and we need to talk about those differences on the issues. but what we saw in the last few weeks in the state of florida is not something that will help us win this election. we need to -- and i said it, i'll say it again, governor
romney, you have every right to go out into the private sector and use the gifts that god has given you and the opportunities that you have and that you made for yourself and your hard work and make all the money that you can and do it in a way that helps our economy and certainly helps you and your family. and i'm not going to criticize you for doing that, because that's how capitalism works and i'm all for it. [ cheers and applause ] and speaker gingrich, you went out and took the talents that you have and they're considerable and you took the effort and the hard work and the knowledge and the experience you got from working at the highest levels of government and went out and worked with companies that had concerns about a government that was trying to run over them in many cases. and there is nothing wrong with that, and i congratulate you for the work that you did and in support of those companies who deserve representation as they are entitled to under the first amendment of our constitution. and i'm not going to criticize you for that. all right. [ applause ]
but let's put those issues behind us and let's focus on the real issue, which is defeating barack obama. [ cheers and applause ] and we're not going to do that by mudslinging. we're going to do it by talking about the issues that people with their kitchen tables are talking about. they're talking about their homes being foreclosed on. they're talking about jobs that are not available or the promotions that are not available or the opportunities to be able to start a business without the government breathing down their neck. that's what people want to hear about. and they want to know what your plans are and they want to know how you contrast yourself with president obama when it comes to that. that's what this campaign has been about for me. tomorrow we'll give a speech on romney care and obama care. it is not about -- we're going to talk about the issues that are important to the people of
nevada, important to the people of colorado and minnesota and missouri, the states that are up next in this next go-round, in the next week. that's what the issues that i, again, we need a candidate who can get up on the issues of health care and draw clear contrast with president obama. we need someone who can get up on the issue of cap and trade and government using environmentalism to be able to crush the businesses of our country and draw clear contrast with president obama. we need someone on the issue of wall street and the bailouts and all of the -- all of that, here in nevada they suffered. they suffered while the folks -- while the folks at wall street have prospered, the people here who had the loans underwater continue to suffer while those who were buying and selling for profit, bad paper, continued to get bailed out by washington, d.c. and approve td of by newt gingrich and mitt romney. so we need someone who can draw
that contrast. we need someone who can be a conservative nominee. and, you know what, in florida, newt gingrich had his opportunity. he came out of the state of south carolina, he came out with a big -- with a big win and a lot of money. and he said, i'm going to be the conservative alternative, the anti-mitt. and it didn't work. he became the issue. we can't allow our nominee to be the issue in the campaign. [ cheers and applause ] so i say to the people of nevada and the people across this country, if you want a strong principle conservative who is not going to be the issue in the campaign who will make barack obama the issue in this campaign, please vote for me and help us out. thank you, god bless. thank you. thank you. [ cheers and applause ] >> former pennsylvania governor rick santorum speaking -- excuse me, former pennsylvania senator rick santorum speaking not from florida tonight where he's come in third place in the florida primary, speaking from las
vegas, the next contest in the republican nominating contest is in nevada where the caucuses happen on saturday. mr. santorum, as you heard him speak there in those remarks, had taken a days off the campaign trail, first to go home and then to deal with the health of his youngest daughter who has been hospitalized. the senator giving some good news tonight saying she's coming home from the hospital, a touching moment when volunteers from the campaign handed over a stuffed animal and what looked to be a get well card for his daughter. i would remark a few days off the campaign trail, even if it has been under difficult circumstance, seems to have been good for rick santorum. i would describe that as a spirited off the cuff speech where he made some news and sounded strong and before i heard him speak, i thought the question tonight is whether or not rick santorum would be getting out of the race. after seeing him speak, i feel like that's not a question. it does not seem like he's getting out. let's get some perspective on this from chris matthews. looking at rick santorum and mitt romney speaking tonight,
what do you think is important from those speeches? >> well, he's not talking his way out of the vice presidential nomination, is he? he's not doing anything that doesn't, you know, make himself a little cuddly to the other candidates. i think that little tribute to the other candidates and the way they made their money was a real stretch. we'll see how well mitt romney's money-making stands up under the scrutiny of the press. may not have a problem with the republicans, but i think he'll get a lot of scrutiny from the president's people and their campaign. we'll learn a lot more about mitt romney and how he hid his money in the last ten years before this thing is out. and thank god we will. as for santorum, your questions is a good one. i think santorum would very much like to be the running mate of mitt romney. i think he keeps offering himself up as a complement, someone that can carry a different kind of voter, different class of voter if you will, the working class ethics if you will of the northeast and
the midwest. i think rick santorum's offering himself for that job. i think there are better and more attractive candidates for that job, like chris christie, that romney would pick. but let's face it, we're in the vice presidential season as well as the presidential season right now. and rick santorum is the most active candidate for that job. >> let me interrupt you for a moment as we see newt gingrich and his wife calista gingrich take the stand where mr. gingrich is due to address his supporters in florida tonight. as you just saw, rick santorum was not in florida tonight. he was addressing supporters from las vegas. he's also physically moved on to the next contest in nevada. ron paul is also already gone west. but newt gingrich and mitt romney are both in florida, really the biggest question of the night is what happens i think to the character and frankly to thor hae er havverac newt gingrich campaign. this say much awaited speech tonight. let's listen.
♪ is everything she came out here ♪ >> thank you, all, very, very much. and thank all of you up here. i particularly want to start by thanking attorney general bill mccollum who just has been a great state wide leader and has done so much to help us and he and ingrid have been tremendous. i also want to thank mayor and alan levine who co-chaired state wide and helped us put this together with remarkably short time. we're very grateful to all of you. i also want to introduce my daughter kathy and her husband paul, they live down in key biscayne. and i am very proud of kathy because she did a whole series of spanish language media over the last couple of weeks helping us in the miami area and really reaching out across all of the hispanic community. and also my daughter jackie and her husband jimmy are here.
jackie has been doing speeches, doing television and radio and as many of you know she and jimmy are the mother and father of my two major debate coaches, maggie and robert. it is great to have them here. i want to thank floridians. calista and i talked about this. everybody here has been so positive in every part of the state that we just thank all of you for the hospitality and the kindness. we thank the well over half a million floridians who voted for us. and i think florida did something very important, coming on top of south carolina. it is now clear that this will be a two-person race between the conservative leader, newt gingrich, and the massachusetts moderate. [ cheers and applause ] and the voters of florida really made that clear.
now, you'll notice that a number of folks are holding up a sign about 46 states to go. we did this in part for the elite media because, you know, the same people who said i was dead in june and july and said i was going after iowa, who seemed quiet the night of the south carolina victory, are now going to be back saying what is going to do, what is he going to do, what is he going to do? i want to reassure them tonight, we're going to contest every place and we're going to win and we'll be in tampa as the nominee in august. [ cheers and applause ] >> newt, newt, newt, newt, newt, newt, newt, newt, newt, newt, newt, newt! >> now, you might ask, in the face of a 5-1 onslaught, how can that be true? i'll give you the answer. it was stated at a historic
moment in 1863. in dedicating our first national military cemetery, by the president of the united states, abraham lincoln, who said we have government of the people, by the people, for the people. and we're going to have people power defeat money power in the next six months. [ cheers and applause ] and you might say how are we going to do that? the same way that we came back in june and july and by december we're ahead in the gallup poll nationally with no money. it turned out if you have ideas, and you have solutions, and you're positive, and you can communicate a better future, and you have a history of actually doing something in the past, that the combination begins to reach the american people.
so let me talk briefly about what this is going to be about. this is the most important election of your lifetime. [ cheers and applause ] if barack obama gets re-elected, it will be a disaster for the united states of america. make no bones about it. if he can have a record this bad, unemployment this bad, deficits this bad, policies this bad, gasoline prices this high, and still get re-elected, you can't imagine how radical he'll be in a second term. so designing and putting together a people's campaign, not a republican campaign, not an establishment campaign, not a wall street funded campaign, a people's campaign and saying to every american of every background, and every ethnic group and every community, we have a better future for you and your family, it is a future of jobs. it is a future of lower gasoline
prices. it is a future of a balanced budget. it is a future of a smaller washington. it is a future of more power back home to you and your family and your neighborhood. this is a future we ask you to join us in imposing on the establishment in washington, and imposing it on both parties. [ cheers and applause ] so let's talk briefly about the power of ideas. in 1980, i was very honored to be able to help put together the first capital steps event. at that point senate and house candidates came together with governor reagan, david brodeur wrote about it in the washington post, a courageous decision by reagan because he didn't have to run as part of a team. and he did something nobody had done before. he won six u.s. senate seats by a combined margin of 75,000 votes and we picked up 33 house
seats. in 1994, building on that experience, we got 350 candidates to come and to be part of a contract with america to stand on the capital steps. we offered a positive program and we had the largest one-party increase in american history in an off year, 9 million additional americans voted for a positive vision and we kept our word in every item of the contract was voted on first 93 days. [ cheers and applause ] there is a core question both in the primaries and in the general election. it is a simple question. if you're comfortable with the way america's decaying, then we don't have to change much. we can just manage the decay. if you think that's a terrible thing to do to your children and grandchildren, it is a terrible thing to do to your country, and
if you are prepared to do what it takes to make sure that we change direction, not just the presidency, but the congress, the bureaucracy, the judges, the policies, so that the entire system gets on the right track, so that america can give our children and grandchildren a more prosperous, safer and better future, this is how big the gap is. there are folks over here in both parties who are quite comfortable managing the decay. i am running, calista and i made the decision, running, our children and son-in-laws joined us in that decision because we believed it is cheating our grandchildren to not insist on fundamental basic change in washington, even if the establishment doesn't like it. [ cheers and applause ] >> newt, newt, newt, newt, newt, newt, newt, newt, newt, newt, newt, newt, newt, newt, newt,
newt! >> in the next few days, we're going to develop the equivalent of the contract from 1994, except this is going to be a personal one between me and you. because i'm asking you to make me president and therefore i have a personal responsibility. it will come in two parts. part one is conditional and requires your help. part two i can do if i win the election, without having to condition it. part one, only works if you help me and we run a team campaign, which means, by the way, we have to replace bill nelson with a conservative. [ cheers and applause ] but if you help us, in addition to winning the presidency, we elect a republican senate and republican house, i will ask them on january 3rd to stay in office and i will ask them to immediately pass the repeal of
obama care. [ cheers and applause ] i will ask them to immediately pass the repeal of the dodd-frank bill which is killing housing, killing small business, and killing independent banks. and i will ask them to pass the repeal of sarbanes oxley, which is crippling american businesses with no net profit. and my goal is to have all three bills sitting there, waiting, so the minute i am sworn in, i can sign all three and we're off to a pretty good opening morning. [ cheers and applause ] now, those three promises are conditional. we have to win the senate by a big enough margin to manage it. and we have to increase our strength in the house. help me do that, i'll do those
for you. let me tell you some things and we'll put this together in a way that you'll be able to see in writing with my signature and you'll be able to hold me accountable. there are a series of executive orders i can issue that the congress can't stop as long as they're within the law. the very first executive order will abolish all of the white house czars as of that moment. [ cheers and applause ] we will issue immediately an executive order on the same day. all this is going to happen about two hours after the inaugural address. okay. no point in hanging out and having fun. before we get to go to the various balls that night, we're going to have a work period. this is going to be a working presidency. i may not get in as much golf as obama, but i'll get in a lot more job creation. [ applause ]
and i'll tell you up front, i'm not going to compete with obama in singing, because i'm not running for entertainer in chief, i'm running for president. [ cheers and applause ] and i would say to him now, mr. president, you cannot sing your way past a disaster of your presidency. now, we will immediately, you know, i forgot my teleprompter. i said to my staff earlier, i'm having to wing this because of a staff failure. so we're going to sign on that day the authorization for the immediate deployment of the keystone pipeline as of that day. [ cheers and applause ] my message to the people of canada is, don't cut a deal with
the chinese. help is on the way. by january, we'll build the right pipeline to the right place. [ applause ] i'll just give you a couple more. we'll put together a package. you're going to see this is what a serious conservative president is like, who is bold and is prepared to change washington, despite the screams of the establishment in both parties. a couple more steps. we will, on that day, sign an executive order that will instruct the state department, that day, to open the embassy in jerusalem and recognize israel. [ cheers and applause ] >> newt, newt, newt, newt, newt, newt, newt, newt, newt, newt, newt, newt, newt, newt, newt! >> two more examples. i will sign that executive order reinstating ronald reagan's mexico city policy, no u.s.
money will go anywhere in the world to pay for abortion, period. [ cheers and applause ] and finally, many of you may have noticed that the obama administration has declared war on the catholic church and other religious institutions. i want you to know that on the very first day i will sign an executive order repealing every anti-religious act of the obama administration as of that moment. [ cheers and applause ] the reason i'm comfortable telling you all this is i have been studying what america needs to do, since the fall of 1958 when my dad was stationed in europe in the army. i have been working at what we
need to do. as congressmen, speaker of the house and the private sector. i believe it is possible to get this country back on track. my commitment is to unleash the spirit of the american people, to find new and innovative and positive things. to do them seven days a week. to do them relentlessly. to do them without stop. to make sure that we have fundamentally gotten america back on the right track. and i pledge to each and every one of you personally if you will reach out across the country, if you'll use facebook and youtube and twitter and phone calls and even visits, if you tell all of your friends and the other 46 states, that there is a chance to nominate a conservative who knows what he's doing, who has done it before, and who has the courage and the determination to get it done, i promise you that if i become your president, i pledge to you my life, my fortune, and my
sacred honor. this is about america. thank you. good luck and god bless you! [ cheers and applause ] >> newt gingrich finishing second place tonight, address his supporters. we're still waiting for ron paul who we are also expecting to give a speech tonight. perfect we go before we go to chris matthews in miami, when you hear that newt gingrich speech, do you feel like that was a good speech, i should just ask. >> i think it was off the wall, all over the place no discipline. i think it speaks fundamentally to what his problem is, is that he has all this talent, he's such a compelling communicator, but he absolutely lacks the discipline to focus and convey a message to the american people. and i think fundamentally what he needed to do tonight for republicans is to offer a rational for his candidacy going forward in those 46 states yet to come. why should he endure? why should he keep going? why is it important?
what is at stake with his candidacy? and he didn't do any of it. i thought he was one mention away from going to the lunar base. it was just -- i just -- i'm struck by the total lack of discipline in his formulation, speaking to the room, not to the country. >> he offered a personal contract. you got to be high on that. >> it was -- >> it was conditional in part one and part two. it was confusing. al sharpton, as a man who has blown a few barns over with your oratory in the day, when you look at newt gingrich there, did he do what needed to be done in order to get -- >> i think he made it very clear he's going to fight on. he's also, despite santorum, clearly trying to make the case he's staying in. said this is going to -- and should be a two-person race. he is a conservative. and romney, he was not very complimentary of romney at all. and he seemed to be taking on the republican establishment and then he did take off into the
outer space and started talking in delusional terms about what he was going to do between the inaugural address and the inaugural ball. i think that's cute, but i don't think that's how you get the american public or the republicans in the upcoming states to take you seriously. i think him laying out all of these things, i don't think he did his case well. i think the clear case that we get is he intends to fight on. i also thought it was kind of humorous he took a shot at the president's singing when he was on stage with herman cain, the songstress of the whole campaign. >> let me bring in chris matthews, in miami. chris, we heard from mitt romney, a competitive primary does not divide us, it prepares us. we will be united. then we heard from rick santorum, republicans can do better, essentially, than the character of the race in florida. he said that newt gingrich had his chance, but he made himself the issue, essentially saying that newt gingrich ought to get out of the way now. and now we just heard newt
gingrich saying he's definitely not getting out of the race, 46 more states and describing it as a two-person race as if rick santorum didn't exist. what just happened here? >> well, i think it was delusional in a sense of how he was laying out his plan for life, that he has already planned his duties between now and next january, between the balls and everything else and the executive orders and the hr-1, 2 and 3, all ready for his signature on january 20th. the degree of specificity is delusional. i thought there was something there, i don't want to discredit ted kennedy here, but something of the georgetown university speech there, when ted kennedy knew he lost the fight against carter, he made it an issue of ideology, clearly put, not about himself with all his flaws. here is newt saying this isn't about me and all my flaws this is about the conservative wing of the party. one thing i thought romney did not do tonight is offer a clear doctrine or reason, really, psychological -- i should say ideological reason for his presidency, where as newt with all of his delusion focused on
the facts and the policies. he did string out the issue of complaint there, all the way from, i mean, bringing up sarbanes oxley, not just dod fra frank, but bringing up the moving of the embassy, nothing but trouble in that regard, that's always an initiative that politicians push for on both sides of the aisle. and then the catholic church complaints which we heard this sunday at church and all the other buttens he pushed, but he did have a sense of why a conservative would be interested in this race. he did focus not on personality. he did focus on the issues, that drive people out there, who go out and work in the campaigns. there is no love. i said this two hours ago, no love for either of these guys. there is, however, devotion to the issues, irritated devotion. a dissatisfaction with the way the country is going. he did go through that agenda, better than the other candidates tonight. newt's saving grace is his
almost kaleidoscopic mind where his mind can think of all of the fissures, all the anger points, all the pressure points, put them all them all together into one malicious compound and deliver them in five minutes without a teleprompter. you notice the problem with mitt tonight, he can't do it without his script or a teleprompter. newt, stream of consciousness from the bills he was going to sign to the executive orders, to the foreign policy moves, everything was laid out in some sort of, i don't know, some sort of order in his mind. kaleidoscopic is the best way to describe it. it is all there. and it is taken together, the reason why conservatives call themselves conservatives. i don't think mitt knows how to say that. all he knows is how to list the complaints against this president in an anecdotal way that means nothing to anybody but fills his speech. newt is an ideologue when he wants to be. tonight he wanted to be one and
he played the part pretty well. >> i find myself agreeing with chris matthews. we are imagining how this sounds to republican voters and here is my republican friend telling me, oh, no, it was off the wall. and so, i mean what is it that we don't get about how the republican voter consumes what to chris and i sounds like some boiler plate stuff that they really want to hear? >> you're getting ready to get off the wall. >> here we go. we have got ron paul about to address his supporters. ron paul, like rick santorum, not in florida tonight, focusing on the long game, saying he's in this for the caucus states ahead, that he's in this to amass delegates. he's the guy saying from the beginning he will be in it through the convention. ron paul finishing fourth tonight in florida. he had zero florida campaign staff. zero. he has moved on, but he's addressing his supporters tonight. let's listen. ron paul. [ cheers and applause ]
>> thank you. >> ron paul, ron paul, ron paul, ron paul, ron paul, ron paul, ron paul, ron paul, ron paul, ron paul, ron paul, ron paul! >> thank you very much! thank you. well, if enthusiasm wins election, we win hands down! [ cheers and applause ] this is great. this is very, very nice and thank you very much for coming out. you know, just -- just a little while ago i called governor romney and congratulated him and we had a friendly -- no, we had a -- no, no, no. we had a friendly conversation. and i honestly congratulated him. he ran a good campaign. but i also said, i would see him soon in the caucus states. [ cheers and applause ]
you know, we have been having a fantastic trip. and not too long ago, a few days ago, we were up in maine. fantastic reception up in maine. [ cheers and applause ] today we had three visits in colorado and they were fantastic. we visited with and we probably had attendance well over 5,000 today in colorado. [ cheers and applause ] now, i, you know, a few months ago there were -- how many candidates? there were nine. we're down to four. but tonight, tonight i saw a statistic we're in third place when it comes to delegates and that's what really counts. [ cheers and applause ]
and we have only gotten started. now the counting really occurs. now, and we will spend our time in the caucus states because if you have an irate tireless minority, you do very well in the caucus state. [ cheers and applause ] but there is something else that the caucus states lends itself to, because if you have an energized group of people that are working in a campaign, and actually believe in something, it is better to work in the caucus states. [ cheers and applause ] this is what has been so fantastic with the campaign. i've been doing a little bit of the campaigning for liberty for a long time. but let me tell you, something big is happening in this country. and it is all very favorable.
there is a mess up in washington and they have created a mess, they have given us a lousy foreign policy, they have given us a lousy budget and they have given us a lousy recession, but where the wonderful thing is happening is in the grassroots. people are beginning to realize that the problem is too much government. we need more personal liberty. [ cheers and applause ] and this is -- and this is where we're winning the hearts and minds of the people and the numbers are growing. i'll tell you what, there is many brushfires of freedom being lit across this country today. we don't even know where they are. there are so many. but it is being translated into great enthusiasm and change. the change that we need. we don't need to have more government, we need to get rid
of some of the ornery process of the government. we, for instance, don't you think it is about time we had a new monetary policy? [ cheers and applause ] >> and would we have to invent something new? all we would have to do is read the constitution. it tells us exactly what we're supposed to have. now what about a foreign policy? we need a foreign policy. do we have to invent it? no, we have to read the constitution. we need a strong national defense. we don't need to be the policemen of the world. and very simply we should reject and not get engaged in any more
wars that aren't declared properly and supported by the people. i've gotten some advice on the internet every once and a while. the advice is, ron if you would change your foreign policy, you would get a few supporters. if they only knew the support for the freedom movement comes with a sound economic and a sound foreign policy that makes sense. [ cheers and applause ] very simply, very simply it means bringing our troops home and stopping all the undeclared unwinnable wars. [ cheers and applause ] now, what would this do for our economy? i would like to see all the troops spending their money here at home and not going over
there. but the last ten years, fighting these unwinnable, undeclared wars, we have spent over $4 trillion more into debt for this. so it is a cost of life and limb, but there is an economic cost as well. and the american people are tired of it. and they're ready because they know this country is bankrupt. all great nations go down because they overextend themselves overseas. so i would say it is time for us to wake up, don't wait for an economic crisis to hit when we have to come wimping home. we ought to just wise up, spend our money wisely, defend this country, and don't pretend we can tell other people how to live. [ cheers and applause ] the greatest danger when we accept the notion that the government is supposed to take care of us from cradle to grave
and we're supposed to be the policemen of the world is that ultimately it is done at the expense of personal liberty. the purpose of all government should be the protection of individual liberty for each and every one of them. [ cheers and applause ] we need to reverse the trend on the attack on our civil liberties. we need to repeal the patriot act. we need to repeal -- we need to repeal the provision that the president has the authority to assassinate american citizens without trial. we need to repeal the provision that says that president can use the military to arrest any american citizen and deny them a trial. very simply, the answer is send only people to washington, send only people to the white house that know and understand and read the constitution and enforce the constitution. [ cheers and applause ]
then there would be -- then we would have the full understanding how you have a peaceful, thriving nation as you enforce the concept of liberty. enforce the liberty for each and every one of us equally. this brings people together because people will use their liberty in different manners, but we don't have to fight over how they use their liberty as long as they assume responsibility for themselves and the consequences of other actions. [ cheers and applause ] it also -- it also very simply suggests the fact that if we have a right to our life and our liberty, we should have a right to keep the fruits of our labor as well. [ cheers and applause ] so we don't have to reinvent something we can improve on our
past, but we had a great past, we had a great constitution, we had a great middle class, the richest and the biggest middle class ever and we have undermined it with excessive spending, excessive taxation, a monetary system that is flawed and a foreign policy that is flawed. all we have to do is return to our roots and in the short time we could have our peace and our prosperity and our reliance on ourselves with our personal liberty. [ cheers and applause ] not only has this been a great day for the campaign for liberty and this process, but it has been a great week for the campaign. believe me, it has been a great past four years but five, six, seven years ago, they really didn't know what was happening. with the crisis that hit, both the economic crisis that we had four years ago, the realization of the significance of our federal reserve system as well
as our flawed foreign policy, the people know about it, they're awakening to this, they're listening to this message, it is up to us to do something about it. [ cheers and applause ] the message is loud and clear. the enthusiasm is here. but it has to be translated into proper political action. that means that tending the caucuses and sending a powerful message to this country that we want our freedoms back, we don't want more government. thank you very much. [ cheers and applause ] >> texas congressman dr. ron paul addressing supporters tonight after his fourth place finish in florida. congressman paul is not in florida. he maintains no florida staff or in this campaign florida being sort of a winner take all state in terms of delegates. the campaign decide relatively early on they did not expect to win in florida so they would not
in their terms waste resources there. he's speaking from henderson, nevada, tonight, speaking in front of young supporters, which, of course, is a hallmark of his campaign and one of the most important things about his campaign, the way he motivates young republicans and young people who might not otherwise be republicans if they didn't support ron paul to get involved in politics. when we return, we'll have reaction to mitt romney's big victory by florida tonight, including from the chair of the democratic national committee, that's all ahead. msnbc's coverage of the florida primary continues right after this.
nbc news projects that mitt romney will win the republican primary in florida tonight. newt gingrich finishing a distant second place. rick santorum in third. ron paul in fourth place. we're in new york here at our msnbc headquarters. but we're joined now by the magic of satellite television, by congresswoman debbie wasserman schultz, chair of the democratic national committee and she's in tampa tonight. thank you for being with us. appreciate your time. >> thank you for having me, rachel. >> what is your reaction to the
results out of florida this evening, as chair of the democratic party, are you starting to look to a romney candidacy or you to feel like it is still too soon for that? >> well, i think they probably got a ways to go before there is a clear nominee. you know what mitt romney did tonight was essentially buy the republican primary victory he got. 13,000 ads to 200 ads for newt gingrich. only about .1% of those ads were positive. i mean he really carpet bombed newt gingrich. so all that says is that he drowned him in negative advertising. and so as the race progresses, i think it will continue to be clear that there say dramatic contrast between mitt romney and the republican field and him fighting to continue tax loopholes that benefit himself and the wealthiest most fortunate americans and president obama is fighting for the middle class. we'll continue to use these primaries as an organizing tool and get ready to run the most dynamic grassroots presidential
campaign in history. >> congresswoman, al sharpton. >> how are you? >> i'm fine. as we continue to watch just what i call political cannibalism, i think clearly that helps the democrats, but something newt gingrich said tonight that caught my attention, he started talking about the senate and the congress. and the bottom of the ticket, lower than the presidency. that would have to be a concern to you as the chairwoman of the dnc that they are also going to target, he called out bill nelson's seat by name, he talked about we need a majority in the senate and the congress, almost signalling that while we may rumble at the top, we also need to start dealing below the ticket. the dnc has to be prepared for that state by state. >> and we will be. the dnc, the d triple c are gearing up and getting ready. we have a class of candidates
that we have recruited that are going to go head to head and defeat these really extreme tea party candidates that were elected in 2010. there is a reason, reverend al that the republican congress is in single digits in terms of their approval rating because the american people don't like that the republicans have chosen to be obstructionists on everything that president obama has been trying to do to get this economy turned around and create jobs. and that's going to be, i think, unacceptable when push comes to shove and voters going to the polls in november to choose who they want to control the congress because they're going to want to help president obama make sure we can be all be successful. >> congresswoman, this is ed. the obama campaign tonight tweeted out mitt's middle class problem, fewer than 9% of fourth quarter donors gave $200 or less. contrast 98% of obama's donors gave $250 or less. is this the way it is going to be? are the democrats -- is the obama campaign going to be able to keep up with that kind of
proportional giving and that kind of separation? what do you make of it? >> absolutely, ed. i'm so glad you raised that because we reached more than -- we reached a million online grassroots donors six months earlier, last year, than we did in the 2008 cycle. 98% of our contributions are less than $250. the average contribution to the barack obama campaign is $54. so this is a campaign fuld eled people. super pac funding is opaque. and president obama does not accept pac money, does not accept money from federal lobbyists and nor does the dnc. we're making sure we talk the talk, as well as walking the walk when it comes to making sure that the campaigns we run are powered by the people. very important distinction.
>> congresswoman, it is lawrence o'donnell. i just want to put -- >> hi, lawrence. >> -- on a frame for this for viewers nationally. florida didn't vote vote tonig. one third a little bit less than a third of florida are registered republicans. 36% registered republicans. only registered republicans are allowed to vote in this democrat. you may well have had a turnout lower than in 2008. and so about 1/6 of florida voters voted, when you look at the larger polling, president obama has some massive leads in key demographic, including the hispanic vote in florida which mitt romney seems to have won tonight among republicans. with that massive lead that president obama has, do you see any real challenge to him in florida in november?
>> another important thing to note is that the republican electorate in particular that turned out tonight, more than two thirds of them identify withed tea parties, are supportive of the tea parties, this was an extremely right wing conservative extreme republican electorate that turned out. not reflective of the moderate middle class purple state that florida is. president obama won florida in 2008. he will win florida again, when it comes to housing, when it comes to medicare, when it comes to jobs and the economy. when it comes to tax policy, president obama has been fighting to make sure that people can stay in their homes, that seniors will not have their benefits cut. that will make sure when it comes to immigration, we can fight for comprehensive imdisgrace reform. and the republicans led by mitt romney are dramatically out of step with the priorities floridians care about. that's why florida will remain blue and will re-elect president obama in november. >> thanks for your time tonight,
appreciate it. >> thanks, rachel as always. take care. >> let's go back to chris matthews with howard fineman. we're hearing from the chair there that they haven't decided that mitt romney is definitely president obama's owe poenen end this fall but it sounds they decided romney is the guy. >> they've been assuming romney from the beginning. and they're assuming romney now, and in talking to democrats tonight, what they focused on, they want to attack mitt romney on character the way newt gingrich and mitt romney were going at each other here. if you think it's nasty now, wait until you see what the democrats have planned for mitt romney. >> what are the targets? he will do anything, say anything to get where he wants to go. and, therefore, is not trustworthy, he cannot be believed. they're growing to focus on the fact that he did 100% negative advertising here, he didn't talk about himself in his own vision,
agenda or achievements. and that he conveyed the idea that he was a guy willing to say anything to get what he wanted. and they look at -- very carefully, they look at the favorable numbers or unfavorable numbers of mitt romney in battleground states. they're monitoring that closely. mitt romney's favorable numbers have been going down in these states as people have watched this race here in florida. they're looking at a character attack on mitt romney. somebody he can't stand, and can't believe is possible. yes, bain, yes ten years worth of taxes, yes jobs, massachusetts, et cetera. also for the first time they think they can go after him on character, given the way this campaign shaped up here in florida. >> the power of money. to make that case, the power of the tv ads, less than 1% of the ads were favorable or positive for mitt romney. two thirds -- 70% were negative on him. what's the impact for the general in that carpet bombing
here? i'm sorry, not the carpet bombing. the negative on nult. >> yes. >> no positives on mitt? >> no positives on mitt whatsoever. the democrats are delighted to see newt gingrich say he's going to continue the campaign. but what's struck me is the fact the democrats think they may be deluding themselves, they definitely have a character case to make against mitt romney, the benefit to mitt romney here is that he blasted newt gingrich and he's resumed the front-runner status that he had, although it's a long campaign. the down side for mitt romney is the way he did 2, in full view of the whole country and the tactics he used were ones that the democrats think will hurt mitt romney in the long run. >> let's go south of florida, the cayman islands. where he put his money. i would say, you're an angry factory worker, your job's been shipped over seas, he's been
shipping his money overseas to hide it from the u.s. he's moving his wealth overseas to avoid taxation. isn't there something unpatriotic about putting your money overseas so it doesn't face u.s. taxation? >> there's the difference between the world view of the partners of bain capital and the view of just before everybody else in america. if you're a partner at bain captain, a captain of industry, if you're a wall street person, it's considered the proper thing to do to send your money overseas. to bury your money, you're trying to avoid taxation. that's legitimate, if it's legal. for most american working people, the notion that somebody would do that is just beyond their understanding, and it does sound -- if the campaign is run right by the democrats and the president, they'll make it sound unpatriotic and have reason to do it with average working people. >> chris, howard, thank you. >> briefly, we've got 20 seconds to get to you answer this. steve schmidt in running against mitt romney in 2008, was there a character line of attack against mitt romney. >> it was the flip-flopper line
of attack. he would say one thing to one audience, another to another. it's been a consistent theme when it goes back to romney's race against ted kennedy. it was a liability they brought into this race and they still have in this race. >> stands for nothing, will say anything to get elected. mitt romney is the projected winner of the florida republican primary tonight and in a big way. newt gingrich coming in second, but a distant second followed by rick santorum and ron paul. nobody's getting out after this race. msnbc's coverage of the florida primary and its implications continues in a moment.
former massachusetts governor mitt romney projected by nbc news to win big in florida tonight. after a hard-fought and almost uniformly negative campaign. >> a competitive primary does not divide us, it prepares us, and we will win. >> 50 delegates up for grabs tonight, more than in any other contest thus far. literally written on his podium
newt gingrich a distant second in florida tonight already tell graphing another number. >> we are going to contest every place, and we are going to win and we will be in tampa as the nominee in august. >> doing his own count tonight from the next nominating contest in nevada, an upbeat congressman ron paul. >> tonight i saw a statistic we're in third place when it comes to delegates, and that's what really counts. >> that may be what really counts, but by our count, sir, you're in fourth place. tonight in las vegas, former pennsylvania senator rick santorum also looking ahead to the nevada caucuses and the races beyond that. also slamming his opponents for the negative tone of the florida campaign. >> the one message that i think we got from the campaign in florida is that republicans can do better. >> more now from our exit
polling tonight in florida, and the challenges that lie ahead for mitt romney as he heads into a february of contests that are very different than the ones that just happened in january. for our exit polls, we turn now to tamara hall. >> mitt romney won convincingly tonight in florida. the nbc poll hints at challenges still ahead. some of his support is soft, about 6 in 10 voters are satisfied with the republican field. take a look at this, 38% say they would like to see someone else run for the party's nomination, and that includes 37% of romney's own voters. another weakness, many republican primary voters question his conservative credentials. take a look at these numbers. 41% believe he's not conservative enough. 47% say his positions on the issues are about right. and 6% say he's too conservative. also, romney has faced questions
about how well he connects with average people, given that he is one of the wealthiest presidential candidates we've seen in history. which of the four candidates understands the problems best of the average american, 34% say romney, ahead of newt gingrich's 26%. the 8 point margin is less than the marginen romney is winning in florida tonight. >> thank you. the first number that tamarin gave blew my mind. as voters commit themselves to a candidate by going out to the polls and voting for them, you see the proportion of voters who want somebody else to enter the race go down. tonight in florida, in the fourth contest, we're seeing four in ten republican voter s still want somebody else to enter the race. how is this possible we're four
races in? doesn't this seem like an unusually high number? >> i was thinking of the lyrics, "falling in love again." it's not happening here, they're not getting used so romney, they're accepting him. it's not working, and i think that's a real problem for them. romney has not instilled love. he did not run positive ads about himself down here, he doesn't seem to be happy. the only happy person out there -- i don't know if you agree with me, rachel, ron paul looks like he's having the time of his life and he got 7%. he goes out there and says the most obscure things and the audience loves him even more for it. he talks about fed policy, and he has people 20 years old going nuts over it. i think he's the real winner in terms of life.
romney is learning this as a dog learns tricks. he chases the bone, the ball, whatever they tell him to do. there's no love for him or by him. it's interesting, i don't think santorum is having the time of his life either, mitt certainly is not. who's enjoying this campaign, ron paul. that's your best observation tonight. the guy who has no prayer in the world, he's probably not even a republican, and yet he seems to be enjoying this process. why isn't mitt romney happy? because he's run a completely dirt ball campaign that nobody on earth would be proud of. not him, not any winner. he ran a loser's winning campaign tonight in florida, he smashed the other guy with negative, and he didn't have the good grace to say one good thing about himself. as a result, if you heard there a few moments ago, newt gingrich didn't show him the slightest bit of grace tonight. i don't think he conceded. i may be wrong, i may have missed the line somewhere. no tribute to the guy who won
the florida primary tonight. there was no grace in the victory or the defeat tonight. the one guy who won tonight is the happiest guy on the planet right now, ron paul. he's the only one saying what he believes. >> chris, thank you. i think you are totally right to zoom in on the happiness of ron paul, only because is it is the most palpable emotion that you get from any of these candidates, at any one time. i do think every once in a while, you get some real emotion from rick santorum on the stump, but we did not see that tonight. what you're talking about, problem paul talking about obscure policy that most people don't know about and the crowd going nuts, he did less of that tonight and newt gingrich went for it, like you talked about before, going after sarbanes oxley, it was like there was a cross-over. >> the dingell norwood that al
gore talked about with bush that one time. and everybody says what a dingell berry. i'm sorry. >> chuck todd looking at the breakdowns tonight by county, and the importance of florida in the general election. what do you have? >> the county map is fascinating for a couple reasons. the orange is gingrich, the green is romney and it tells you why. we told you to look for this throughout the night. tells you why gingrich wants to keep going. northern florida a gingrich strong hold. the margins weren't huge for him in a lot of these counties, but he won them. this is what gives him the hope if he gets to march on super tuesday, when there are more northern florida like states this is what gives him hope, if he runs a better campaign than he did this time, he has a base to build on. the other fascinating part about romney's margin, he's going to have prove ing to get more vote
than any other primary candidate in history. he did it in five counties, dave, broward, palm beach and hillsboro. west palm not a full fledged media market. half of his vote margin came out of here. he won dade county by some 50 points, and it was an unbelievable margin he got out of the south there, and tampa, that made up for -- you would think when you get close to 50%, that you would almost win every media market in the state. no, this was a very bottom heavy victory for mitt romney. a couple other things i want to point out going to the general. i don't think we learned anything tonight about the general, there's a fun fact i got from a florida democratic strategist who ran obama's florida effort in 2008. to prove why florida is america's swing state this is the total vote, presidential
vote for the last five presidential elections. the margin is 56,000 votes, that's .17%. .17. less than two tenths of one percent have separated the two major parties in the state of florida the last five presidential elections. only colorado has a closer total note of the last five presidentials, it's just unbelievable. largest democratic margin was clinton in '96. largest republican was bush in 2004. there's a reason why florida is america's swing state. you see it in the raw total. you see it in the fact that there's -- it's even more of a microcosm of the electorate -- this is the least white republican primary we'll probably see until we get perhaps to hawaii. >> in terms of what you just said about the spread of the vote in the state, i'm struck by how many counties newt gingrich
won given the big margin by which mitt romney won the overall state. to summarize those findings, you're saying mitt romney did not find a whey to broadly appeal geographically across the state he essentially used organizational strength to maximize the turnout of his voters in the parts of the state where he was going to do well. he had huge organizational advantage. he really lost the northern part of the state badly, didn't sne. >> it is the core. when you look and you see the wall street journal poll, we're talking about why is gingrich ahead nationally at the time? he consolidated the base of the party, he's sitting -- southerners, the folks that cal and the tea party, somewhere between 30 and 35% of the republican electorate in general, and it's a strong base. that is north florida. north florida is -- the more --
the further north you go in florida the more south you go as far as you go culturally. that was newt's strength. what this map shows is what you just said, romney still has an issue with the core base conservative. if you believe the party which is still based in the south, a culturally conservative southern party is the heart of the party, it's into the the majority of the party, but it is sort of the largest plurality of the party, and that's where gingrich has a foundation to build on. if he ever could run a campaign to build from there, you could see where he could go. you'd rather start where newt's starting if you were starting from scratch, than where romney's starting, it's harder in a republican primary to have to win over the base, it's easier to start from the base and win over the moderates and win over the casual members of your party, what romney is actually doing is much harder than what newt should be doing, romney's simply tactically
winning a better campaign. >> that's fascinating, thank you for that. appreciate it. i think that what chuck went to. even though mitt romney won florida, you'd rather be newt gingrich than mitt romney looking at that map. do you think that's right, steve? >> i think you'd rather be mid romney overall, when you look at the money, the resources, the trajectory with the goal of securing the nomination, but i thought chuck's analysis of this was brilliant, the republican party culturally, it's heart, it's soul is in the south. and the problem is, that you have someone from massachusetts, who is accumulating the delegates, winning the state, and when newt gingrich calls him a massachusetts moderate, it's a polite way of calling him a yankee -- for all of these southern states that are yet to come, and have you a situation, conceivably where gingrich could do very well, in georgia, mississippi, in alabama, yet
still be the person who is far behind in the delegate count and far behind in second place like he is tonight for the overall nomination, and you have the nominee of the republican party could be someone who is from outside of the cultural center and that creates great tension in the party. >> is that why we keep getting racial illusions from newt gingrich? newt gingrich brought back the food stamps president thing. and then tonight he went to president obama ought to stop singing, ought to stop being the entertainer in chief. sort of charicaturing him in minstralcy. >> he's going after a southern mentality, and racial illusions, always wrapped around when he refers to the president, when he
talks about this food stamp stuff. these are -- newt gingrich is many things, stupid is not one of them. he knows exactly what he's saying, he knows exactly who he's playing to, when you look at that map, when you deal with the northern border of florida, which is southern alabama, he knows what card he's playing, and he also knows this, even if he can't run a campaign that is sharp enough to take the nomination, the worst thing that could happen to mitt romney is he become the leader of that conservative block that mitt romney's got to deal with in tampa at that convention. i think that i agree with chris, the only guy that would be happy would be ron paul. could you imagine if he walks in the convention as the leader of the conservative wing of the republican party what those negotiations are going to look like? newt gingrich is not the kind of guy you want to negotiate with. >> there's two numbers gingrich
is looking at tonight, 4 in 10 people that were surveyed don't think he's conservative enough. mitt romney's not conservative enough. 4 in 10 people surveyed want somebody else. i was listening to newt tonight, i'm thinking, is this guy thinking about a possible independent run? i mean, he's ripping on the republicans, he's ripping on the establishment, he's talking as if he's further to the right than where the republicans are right now, coding messaging constantly in his speech piece by piece. romney's not your guy, i'm your guy, i'm staying in this thing, i've got the base of the south and i just think he's looking at those two big numbers tonight to keep him going, and that's what he's going to be selling hard to the people that are going to possibly write him a check. >> two provocative questions to put to the gingrich campaign, is it possible he's prepping for a third party candy daica candida?
campaign trail yesterday? mitt romney, newt gingrich not talking about that, singling out the president as being bad for singing. calling him the entertainer in chief. mitt romney won the state tonight. did surprisingly well in florida's northern counties, frankly look more like the rest of the south. rick tyler is with the pronewt gingrich winning our super pac, he was an aide to the former speaker. when mr. gingrich talked tonight about the president as an entertainer in chief, someone who ought to stop singing and dealing with the problems of the country, i hear racially coded language there. i hear mr. gingrich trying to appeal to southern white conservatives who may be responding to essentially
racially biassed coded language about the president that's designed to call on the african-american achievement in this country. am i wrong to see it in this country? >> it's bologna. >> if you want to talk about race, the republican party was started by abraham lincoln. six of the nine planks in the 1856 platform were civil rights platform. if you go back to the democratic platform, it's a racist platform. we can go down this road. >> what about tonight. can you talk about what happened to the parties after the civil war, and for reconstruction and through this past century. when mr. gingrich -- i will go to the naacp and tell them to be dissatisfied with paychecks. this president is an entertainer
in chief. there's a pattern here of very obviously racially coded language. that has nothing to do with the parties in the civil war. >> i don't understand this. the president sings, the president -- newt gingrich makes a little thing, and all of a sudden it's a racist thing. more people are on food stamps today because of barack obama. they fail in the schools, you can ask al sharpton, the democrats have failed in the public schools with the african-americans, they abort their babies, they've done nothing to lift them out of poverty. i hear all the time the democrats have these great intentions, but their policies fail. maybe we have good intentions too, but our policies haven't been tried. maybe we should try our policies that put people back to work and not give them a handout. live in public housing, and shut up and vote for the democrat. >> that's not what -- >> that's not race baiting. >> that's not what newt gingrich said.
he brought race up in this campaign. he didn't say -- >> tell me when he did, al. >> i'm getting ready to tell you, he said, and i'm quoting here, that he would go to the naacp and tell black people to stop being satisfied with food stamps, he didn't say people on food stamps, he said black people. don't be satisfied, they should demand jobs. black people in communities, youngsters don't have role models. this is not what he said when he went on the tour that president obama asked him to go on. he's brought race in the campaign by name. you cannot then turn around and act like i'm bringing up racism. wait and minute, i'm going to let you finish, but i want to finish this part. he brought up race, now you have to answer. if he didn't want to deal with race, why did he bring up race. it is a patent untruth that president obama has more people on food stamps -- more people
went on food stamps under george w. bush than president obama. would you call him a food stamp president. >> we're not running against george w. bush. >> if more people went on 2350ds stamps under -- >> al -- >> that is factually incorrect. >> 98% of african-americans vote democrat, okay? what have they gotten for it, poor schools, poor neighborhoods, crime ridden neighborhoods, a destruction of the family, and the democrats want to abort their babies. that's their position, i'm not going to defend that. >> people vote democrat -- black people vote democrat because the civil rights act, voting rights act and many of the members of congress -- >> which many of the republicans -- >> were the abe lincoln party and the party of little rock, we voted republican like anybody else in america, sir. we vote our interests.
republican or not. why would we vote for people that call our parents criminals in a says that you can't even admit you're wrong on the facts of food stamps, we're not sadists or mass kits. >> i haven't said the republican party has done a good job of reaching out to african-americans. i think newt gingrich is trying to reach out to african-americans, there's an upset. there are better schools, there's a way to prosperity, a way to earn a paycheck. there's a way to get ahead in life, and it doesn't mean depending on the democratic party for handoutsp he's brought it in to appeal to african-americans that they might vote for a different way, that republicans may have good intentions, just like democrats do, but your policies fail, and our policies work. >> what is his promise? i mean, reprimanding them saying they don't have role models in their community is a policy, saying the only things they see is crime is a policy.
>> well, let me tell you a story -- >> saying they rely on food stamps when there's a policy. what is this policy. >> let me tell you a story -- >> no, you tell me what this policy is. >> how about role models, we just showed this movie red tails across the state in jacksonville, you know who showed up? military families, you know what color they were? they were african-american, you know who they brought? their kids, finally hollywood made a movie with patriotic african-american role models. they don't have any. >> they have doctors, lawyers. >> sure they do, but hollywood doesn't show that. you know what they get on msnbc is race baiting. you don't think they listen to that. >> i know that he is demagoguing, he knows better than that, he knows that parents are trying to get their children an education, he went and met with them. then he flips the script and all of a sudden --
>> exactly. >> -- and acts like they don't exist. we've been in the military and many things for many years. "red tails" is telling a story about 70 years ago. >> al, you're arguing with yourself, i'm agreeing with you. >> no, you're not. you're trying to rationalize something that is irrational. mr. gingrich has not laid out a policy, he's tried to use us as a backboard to score what he perceives as far right wing voters, and is really unfair, is beneath what he was trying to do before. >> i don't see it that way. >> rick, can i just ask you -- >> i don't see it that way. i think newt gingrich is actually trying to make a genuine appeal. i've worked on african-american outreach as a republican, latino outreach as a republican for ten years, so has newt gingrich, i don't think he's changed any of his views about that or is trying to appeal to some
segment, if you can't win across the board on american values that includes african-americans, hispanics, asian, whatever, we're all americans, we share a common culture, and it involves hard work, playing by the rules and an even playing field to get ahead. that's all we're asking for. >> in terms of bringing this back to where we started, this is the reason i asked the question in the first place and why i think it's worth talking about. you have worked on fringe american outreach. i think that nobody has set that outreach back further than newt gingrich has a national leader getting a lot of national attention this year, looking at african-american role models in this country. the first african-american in this country calling him the entertainer in chief and food stamp president. there's been nothing racially divisive than what newt gingrich has done. i think i you know how damaging it is, i'd like you to say
something not about msnbc but about what newt gingrich has done. >> i hear a lot of race baiting. i'm going to defend it. newt is not trying to appeal to the lower angels of our nature. he's said over and over again he's trying to get all americans ahead. latinos, african-americans, all kinds, it just offends me when someone says -- i know newt gingrich, and he's worked very hard to attract all kinds of people from latinos in particular, african-americans, al, you know he's worked with you on education. >> which is why i know what he's saying now is not what he said then. you just don't like my answer. and i do agree with rachel, i think he is really brought race into this, i do not agree with you, that he's appealing -- >> i think you all have brought race into this. >> certainly not no angels, it's
devilish to say you're appealing to people by calling them food stamp people and calling their parents criminals and they have no role models. >> what is wrong -- >> let me -- >> what republican -- you criticize democratic anti-poverty programs, it's true the war on poverty was not terribly successful. you say that republican anti-poverty programs have worked. please name me the republican anti-poverty policy that has lifted people out of poverty and tell me how many people were lifted out of poverty by republican policy. >> because there hasn't been a program, we have not had a new deal, a great society -- those have always been embraced -- we have to embrace all of these programs, they never work. why not just try freedom and
free enterprise, everybody in america, we have a common culture. >> you had another four under reagan, bush senior and eight under bush junior. >> remember, al -- >> i didn't -- >> people prospered in those years, including -- >> african-americans -- african-americans were doubly unemployed under every one of them. show us the program that you had that you claim worked. >> lower taxes, more freedom, less government, and free enterprise. that's the program. >> rick tyler from -- >> that's worth -- >> rick tyler from the pro gingrich winning our super pac. i feel like we have gene aone a our rounds tonight. thank you, it was fun. we're going to be continuing this conversation, msnbc's coverage of the florida primary will continue in a moment.
one interesting fact to follow up on, something that chris matthews observed earlier tonight, in the newt gingrich speech tonight that he exhibited no grace toward mitt romney, that he didn't notice that mr. gingrich conceded he lost the florida primary to mr. romney. mr. gingrich did not make a concession or call romney to congratulate him on winning. >> i think that's consistent, love is all around us tonight. we're joining eugene robinson and a valued colleague.
my reaction, i told you, i had the same reaction our colleagues had, on hearing them call the president an entertainer in chief, the al green homage the president did the other night. there's certain things, i guess i assume newt gingrich was playing the number. you don't agree? >> i don't agree. my hat's off to rick, it's tough to come into this environment to defend something you had nothing to do with, and defend it. >> the food stamp thing -- >> i said this before, the republican party needs to be clear in how it expresses its positions on issues wrm s with black community. you cannot make broad assumptions, about poor education, welfare and the like,
you jump to black. particularly when you look at iowa, where that was not the case. on the other side of it, we have to also be a little bit more judicious in making those kinds of leaks, i heard the same thing, i didn't have that reaction, and i thought, you know, it was no different if he was singing bing crosby, the thing was, you were entertaining broadly speaking, not because you're black and al green's black. for me it was more of a stretch, i understand what al and others were saying. i commend rick for trying his best for putting in context. that was a tough thing to do, it took more energy than was necessary. >> i have accused gingrich of race baiting with the food stamp president line. the way he -- >> where are you with al green? are you with me on al green or not? >> at the time i didn't hear it,
thinking about it, i still didn't hear it. but i do think it was fair to ask tyler about it, that's his guy. that's -- >> well, technically it's not his guy, but if the real world we live in, it's his guy. independent of the gingrich -- he's supporting gingrich for president, he was asked not only about the al green, but also about the food stamp president line which reverend sharpton attacked not only on race baiting. i thought that was all fair game. >> it was all -- the welfare queen, the young buck, i grew up listening to it, reagan the sainted ronald reagan used to do this number too. >> let me ask you something real quick, when bill clinton had his sister soldier moment, was that a racist moment?
no one read it that way, everyone applaud ed -- everyone on the left applauded. >> i -- >> i'm just saying -- >> we're walking on that san andreas fault all the time. let's ask a question of mitt romney. you're republican, mitt romney is he going to make some moves now? 41% say he's too liberal. 38% say they're looking for the right candidate. >> that's a big number after four contests. that's a lot of folks out there still saying, i'm not feeling. soy think coming out of tonight great win in the south, hats off to mit and his team, they put together taking the ads out, a
good ground game, a good effort, turn out the vote. >> i think the most fascinating thing was chuck todd's map of the counties. >> the food stamp line was working up north there, wasn't it? >> as you know, those counties are more like alabama and georgia than they are like south florida as steve schmidt pointed out, the conservative part of the republican party is in the south. how do you have an establishment republican party who doesn't have the support of the core of the party. the reliable -- >> we're going to answer that as soon as we get to march. back to you, rachel. >> thank you, all of you. when we return, we're going to be talking with a rick santorum supporter, about why he's vowing to fight on. my opinion he seemed convincing about it tonight, even as he finished pretty far back of the pack. he says he is staying in. we'll find out what his plans are.
the conservative alternative, i'm going to be the anti-mitt, it didn't work. we can't allow him to be the nominee. >> third place finisher, former pennsylvania senator rick santorum with 95% of the vote. and in florida 13% of the vote. mitt romney the big winner, newt gingrich in second. the headline tonight, other than mitt romney wing appears to be nobody is getting out of the race. a republican who supports rick santorum for president. thanks for being on tonight. >> thanks for having me on. >> here's a quandary for the santorum campaign about your candidate, mr. santorum is the most liked candidate in the florida race. 65% of voters likely voters viewing him favorably. then he comes in a distant third
place tonight, even those voters who liked him, only 15% said they would vote for him. what's the difference between liking him and not voting for him? >> governor romney should get congratulations for tonight, i know speaker gingrich didn't call to congratulate him, i will. i think the difference there is, he is very well liked, you can see it in the crowds. can he win? but if you look at what happened tonight and what's happened with speaker gingrich, i think he had his shot, and he seemed to be in decline now, i think perhaps what they're seeing is, there's one consistent conservative in this race, and it's rick santorum, i think as people get to know him better, particularly republican voters, they're going to see whey see in senator santorum, a person that's been consistent if his values and be a good contrast to president obama. a lot of candidates have not been consistent over time. the flip-flop allegation hurts
as a matter of character than it does a matter of policy. what i'm wondering, is whether or not mr. santorum is using the issue of character against mr. gingrich when he described him in that sound bite you saw, as making himself the issue. mr. gingrich had a chance, he made himself the issue, and the republican party doesn't need that in their nominee. is that a shot at mr. gingrich's character? >> it is true there was plenty of drama between these two candidates. if you look at the debate in jacksonville the other night, i thought the real moment when senator santorum shined was when the two were bickering over things that don't matter to the future of our country, he said stop. and he acknowledged that it's okay what both of them did for a living. let's talk about the great challenges for our country. i think that type of leadership is what people are going to start to see, they start to see it in the debate and the days after that. >> lawrence o'donnell, you know,
i think the problem with the santorum campaign is it's his first time, and republicans simply do not vote for a candidate who's running the first time, the only time they did that, since dwight eisenhower, who had to win world war ii in order to achieve that was george w. bush whose father was president, if your father wasn't president, republicans aren't going to vote for you until the second time around, and it's starting to sound like to me, that is what rick santorum is running for. he wants to be the anti-mitt, he doesn't want to be on the ticket with mitt romney, he wants to say, i was the guy you liked four years ago. and he wants to get his start as a front-runner four years from now. >> that would be completely misreading him. he's in it to win it, i know he looks like the underdog right now, i think that conservative
message will come through. one thing that may be different, you guys know a lot more about history than i do, i know with social networking now, perhaps the old par dimes of getting your name out and getting people to know you may be different. you look at some of the facebook groups and all that, perhaps this is a little different this time around. >> state representative scott plakon, supporting rick santorum for president. congratulations on your returns tonight, and we thank you for being with us. >> thank you. >> even santorum's spokesperson is a nice guy. >> they are. >> they're likeable. >> i liked santorum -- i don't agree with him on anything, but i think his speech tonight was an effective one. it was hard edged, it was effective. >> i agree. >> we'll see when we return, final thoughts on this night from our panel here in new york. mismedication's coverage of the florida primary continues right after this.
missouri primary to be followed by the missouri caucus, then we have cpac, then a debate february 22nd, the arizona primary, the michigan primary. as we look forward to the rest of the race, after this, what changed because mitt romney just won florida. what changed that was not true before tonight? >> it is no small thing that newt gingrich did not call him to say skon grat u laces. he broke that custom, the protocol. this is the fourth contest, the relationship between these two has deteriorated to a point where there's no phone calls, all the courtesies have been againsted with. if we look ahead, it's a campaign of total war over these caucus states. i think that republicans have a real risk of the front-runner, mitt romney, his unfavorables being driven up over this long stretch that's going to be over the next five weeks, if you're a republican, who is focused on
beating the president in november, have you to start being concerned with the tone and tenor of the campaign, what it's likely to be in the weeks ahead. >> the majority of the republican voters tonight voted against mitt romney, and that was after he bombarded the state with money, how much money? more than he spent last time, more than john mccain spent last time, combined. in fact, 50% more than all of the republican candidates spent in florida four years ago. and all he got was this outcome, a 12 point lead on newt gingrich. an extremely weak candidate. >> that is one of the big things, he wasn't blown out tonight. he still is talking to the base. before south carolina it was oh, it's personal for mitt. it's really personal now, and i mean, his emotions are not going to let him anyway shape or form get out of this race and move forward. it's almost as if he's going to
torpedo mitt anyway he can, i don't see newt gingrich ever supporting mitt romney after what happened in florida. >> i think that the dye is cast. romney is going to stay in, santorum is going to stay in. romney was able to edge out a victory -- not edge out, one of the nights -- as long as they can behave the way they're behaving, the president can talk about other things. nothing changed tonight other than we move on to nevada with the same cast of confusion. >> i'd say the headline out of tonight, steve schmidt expects total war to be the next stage of this campaign. >> it can't get worse? >> no one is out of the race, and i think newt gingrich was being racist again when he called the president entertainer